Nancy Pelosi speaking on the floor of the House
Nancy Pelosi speaking on the floor of the House

At 7:04 AM this morn­ing Pacif­ic Time, U.S. House Demo­c­ra­t­ic Leader Nan­cy Pelosi came to the floor to deliv­er remarks in sup­port of DREAM­ers who are fac­ing the threat of depor­ta­tion by the Trump regime in just a few weeks (aid­ed and abet­ted by Repub­li­cans in Con­gress). Near­ly eight hours lat­er, she was still speak­ing, hav­ing set the record for the longest speech in the his­to­ry of the House.

[Watch Pelosi’s marathon speech on Periscope]

Unlike the Unit­ed States Sen­ate, the U.S. House does­n’t have the fil­i­buster, talk­ing or oth­er­wise. Pelosi’s speech is there­fore not a fil­i­buster. But it’s cer­tain­ly some­thing like one. The rules of the House allow Pelosi, as Minor­i­ty Leader, to speak for as long as she likes. It’s one of the priv­i­leges of being the Leader.

Pelosi has tak­en full advan­tage of that priv­i­lege today, hold­ing the House floor to tell the sto­ries of DREAM­ers all over the coun­try who could be deport­ed if Con­gress does­n’t save the Deferred Action for Child­hood Arrivals pro­gram (DACA).

Among the sto­ries that Pelosi read was that of Amy Kele, a stu­dent here at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Wash­ing­ton in the great Pacif­ic North­west. Cour­tesy of Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Prami­la Jaya­pal’s office, here’s a video clip of Pelosi read­ing Amy’s sto­ry.

Pelosi also read from the New Tes­ta­ment, incor­po­rat­ing a clin­ic on the Gospel of Matthew into her remarks. As Pelosi not­ed, among the teach­ings of Jesus relat­ed in the Gospel of Matthew is the com­mand­ment that thou shalt love thy neigh­bor.

When the Son of Man comes in his glo­ry, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glo­ri­ous throne, and all the nations will be assem­bled before him. And he will sep­a­rate them one from anoth­er, as a shep­herd sep­a­rates the sheep from the goats.

He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

Then the king will say to those on his right:

“Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inher­it the king­dom pre­pared for you from the foun­da­tion of the world.”

“For I was hun­gry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you wel­comed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you vis­it­ed me.’”

Then the right­eous will answer him and say, “Lord, when did we see you hun­gry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and wel­come you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and vis­it you?’”

And the king will say to them in reply: “Amen, I say to you, what­ev­er you did for one of these least broth­ers of mine, you did for me.”

The Gospel of Matthew, 25:31–40

Hour after hour, Pelosi read sto­ry after sto­ry, all while stand­ing in four-inch heels. The sev­en­ty-eight year old Demo­c­ra­t­ic Leader is the first woman to have served as the Speak­er of the House in the his­to­ry of the Unit­ed States; today, she con­tin­ues to serve her coun­try as the cham­ber’s Minor­i­ty Leader.

Long reviled by Repub­li­cans for her effec­tive­ness, Pelosi has large­ly man­aged to hold her cau­cus togeth­er despite inter­nal fis­sures and exter­nal pressures.

With Democ­rats out of pow­er in both hous­es of Con­gress and the Sen­ate hav­ing just reached a deal to keep the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment open through the midterms, Pelosi is tak­ing a stand to ensure that DREAM­ers don’t get left by the way­side as Con­gress con­tem­plates send­ing Trump leg­is­la­tion that would appro­pri­ate bil­lions more for the mil­i­tary as well as essen­tial pub­lic services.

In relat­ed news, hun­dreds of peo­ple ral­lied today in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. in sup­port of immi­grant youth and pas­sage of a DREAM Act. Speak­ers and lead­ers from the Wom­en’s March, Cen­ter for Pop­u­lar Democ­ra­cy, Good Jobs Nation, Cen­ter for Com­mu­ni­ty Change, and Unit­ed We Dream participated.

Here’s what these lead­ers had to say about their action.

Ana María Archi­la, co-exec­u­tive direc­tor of the Cen­ter for Pop­u­lar Democracy:

The fight for the Dream Act is a fight for the soul of this nation. It is a pro­found moral ques­tion to the coun­try: who are we?

Are we a nation that rips fam­i­lies apart and expelling chil­dren from the place they call home? Or are we a nation that affirms that we belong togeth­er, and that we will take care of each other.

Today, women lead­ers, health care activists, work­ers, faith lead­ers and immi­grant fam­i­lies are stand­ing unit­ed to reject Trump’s White Nation­al­ist vision for coun­try, and call on Con­gress to solve the cri­sis that Trump cre­at­ed for when he end­ed DACA, upend­ing the lives of 800,000 immi­grant youth.

Arlin Tellez Mar­tinez, DACA recip­i­ent from North Car­oli­na and UWD leader:

I moved to D.C. from my home in North Car­oli­na to ded­i­cate myself ful­ly to get Con­gress to pass the Dream Act.

Dur­ing today’s action, it was clear just how pow­er­ful our move­ment and our com­mu­ni­ty is when hun­dreds mobi­lized to fight along­side immi­grant youth. I feel empow­ered to con­tin­ue to fight even when Con­gress fails to pro­tect immi­grant young people.

We will con­tin­ue to make our pres­ence seen and heard because our lives are on the line and we can­not keep waiting.

Mon­i­ca Cama­cho, a mem­ber of CASA who would qual­i­fy for the Dream Act:

Punt­ing the DACA deci­sion down the road is a fail­ure of lead­er­ship in Con­gress. We know that the major­i­ty of Amer­i­cans and mem­bers of Con­gress sup­ports a clean DREAM Act NOW, not in a year. For young undoc­u­ment­ed peo­ple like myself, this is a night­mare. It’s hard to plan for col­lege, for build­ing your fam­i­ly and your career with so much uncer­tain­ty. Our lives are on hold so we need a solu­tion right now.

Sara Mora, an orga­niz­er for Make the Road New Jer­sey and poten­tial DREAM Act beneficiary:

Just yes­ter­day, faith and com­mu­ni­ty lead­ers sat in Rep. Lance’s dis­trict office in West­field, New Jer­sey and refused to leave until Lance pub­licly com­mit­ted to a clean Dream Act. Clean means Trump’s cur­rent immi­gra­tion frame­work is a non­starter. Clean means fight­ing back against plans that will gut our fam­i­ly immi­gra­tion sys­tem. While Trump con­tin­ues to move the goal post, we need lead­er­ship to hold the line and vote with Dream­ers and our families.

Lin­da Sar­sour, Nation­al Co-Chair of the Women’s March:

To my undoc­u­ment­ed broth­ers and sis­ters, I want you to know, you are not alone. You tell us where to be, and we will be there. Today, we are here with you to deliv­er a mes­sage to Repub­li­cans and Democ­rats in Con­gress: we, peo­ple of col­or, are not bar­gain­ing chips.

This is not a pok­er game. These are peo­ple’s lives. Peo­ple who deserve to be here. We’re not ask­ing for favors, we ask­ing for what we deserve!

My vote in Novem­ber is for undoc­u­ment­ed peo­ple. For Black peo­ple. For poor peo­ple. For mar­gin­al­ized peo­ple and we will pri­ma­ry every Demo­c­rat that did not have spine to stand against the Trump Administration.

If you’re inter­est­ed in learn­ing more, Buz­zfeed has video of the action and arrests. The com­plete speak­ing pro­gram can be watched on Face­book. And there are still pho­tos on Twit­ter. See this tweet, this one, and this one.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

Adjacent posts