If you think the dynamic duo of the White House and Republican House leadership are to blame for the defeat of the Amash amendment, you could be mistaken. Foreign Policy Magazine recently published a story with confirmation from insiders, that Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) played a major role in stopping the Amash amendment from passing on Wednesday night. The bill that called for the defunding of the NSA’s ability to spy on innocent American citizens, was narrowly defeated (205-217) by 12 votes.
“Pelosi had meetings and made a plea to vote against the amendment and that had a much bigger effect on swing Democratic votes against the amendment than anything Alexander had to say,” said the source, keeping in mind concerted White House efforts to influence Congress by Alexander and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. “Had Pelosi not been as forceful as she had been, it’s unlikely there would’ve been more Democrats for the amendment.”
Civil libertarians and the far left side of the Democratic Party are rightly irritated by this development. The Huffington Post reported that in response to their backlash, Pelosi spent most of the following day doing damage control for her “no” vote and vigilant efforts to kill the bill.
Pelosi was far less enthusiastic about her vote, suggesting that while she opposed the bill to stop the wholesale data collection, she isn’t comfortable with how the program is being handled.
“I don’t want anybody to misunderstand a vote against the Amash resolution yesterday,” Pelosi said, adding that she was putting together a letter with members who voted both for and against the amendment that will raise “concerns about how the metadata collection is conducted.”
Pelosi did not vote for the Patriot Act in 2005, nor did she vote in favor of the latest reauthorization of the bill. Her mixed message approach to surveillance has left her base unsure where she truly stands on the issue. This frustration turned to heckling after she made negative comments about Edward Snowden at a conference last month. Given these types of reactions to her comments, it should be no surprise to Pelosi that the laws that allow these surveillance activities to continue have become deeply unpopular with many of her constituents. This revelation begs the question: why did she work so hard to kill an amendment that her base supports? It’s a given that the Constitution is not important to her, perhaps she actually enjoys encounters with angry voters – like the one below.