House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office is pushing back against a book that claims she said Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Pramila Jayapal competed to be “queen bee” of the left last year as they opposed the bipartisan infrastructure bill.
“Under the Speaker’s leadership, House Democrats have made historic progress for the American people and are unified by the common purpose of addressing the needs of hardworking families,” Pelosi, D-Calif., spokesperson Drew Hammill told Fox News Digital.
“Many books will be written about the challenges of legislating during the pandemic and a period of unprecedented Republican obstruction, and we won’t be commenting on the works that substitute gossip for fact,” Hammill added.
The strongly-worded statement came after Punchbowl News Friday published an anecdote from the book “This Will Not Pass” by Jonathan Martin and Alex Burns. According to the excerpt, “Pelosi told one senior lawmaker that Democrats had alienated Asian and Hispanic immigrants with loose talk of socialism.”
“In some of the same communities, the Italian Catholic speaker said, Democrats had not been careful enough about the way they spoke about abortion among new Americans who were devout people of faith,” the Punchbowl excerpt from “This Will Not Pass” continued. “She told another House Democrat that Pramila Jayapal and Ocasio-Cortez were vying to be the ‘queen bee’ of the left, but that their reward might be serving in the House minority after the next election.”
Pelosi’s statement did not explicitly say the “This Will Not Pass” reporting is false.
Pelosi last year faced potentially the most difficult legislative effort of her career as President Biden and progressives pushed a $3 trillion reconciliation bill. Moderates in both parties, meanwhile, touted a bipartisan infrastructure bill they wanted to pass.
Initially in summer 2021, Pelosi was aligned with progressives that Congress should not pass the infrastructure bill until the reconciliation bill, called “Build Back Better,” was signed by Biden. But they faced pushback from moderate Democrats who wanted the infrastructure bill decoupled from Build Back Better. Moderates also demanded the reconciliation bill be significantly cheaper than what progressives wanted.
Eventually Pelosi decided that the House should move ahead on infrastructure even before the reconciliation bill, as House Democrats’ thin margins put both at risk. But she was stymied by progressives multiple times, as they stuck together to block the infrastructure bill until they got satisfactory action on reconciliation.
The infrastructure bill was finally passed in early November, and the reconciliation bill passed the House shortly thereafter. But the Build Back Better bill was killed in December when Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said on “Fox News Sunday” he could not vote for the bill — effectively killing it in the 50-50 Senate.
Representatives from Ocasio-Cortez and Jayapal did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox News Digital Friday.