Pelosi shattered the marble ceiling and leaves a historic leadership legacy

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has destroyed the so-called “marble ceiling” in Congress during her two-decade career as an executive in these halls.

Her career was a first – the first woman to be elected Speaker of the House of Representatives – and she held a particularly high-profile position during some of the most important and often volatile moments in recent American political history.

Her tenure included the Iraq War, a financial crisis “from the depths of Hell” as Pelosi later described it, sweeping legislation regulating Wall Street, expanding health insurance coverage to millions of Americans, a nuclear arms treaty with Russia, and the repeal of the “Don The US military’s ‘t ask, don’t tell’ policy toward gay men serving in the armed forces. She also oversaw the impeachment trial of then-President Donald Trump.

Trump has been impeached by the House of Representatives on two counts of impeachment, abuse of power and obstruction of Congress along the party line. He was acquitted by the GOP-controlled Senate.

Two years later, Pelosi became the first speaker to initiate two impeachment proceedings against the same incumbent president for his role in instigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol during the vote count to confirm Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election . Pelosi joined with other leaders to reconvene Congress that evening to complete the count.

Their central role in these particularly bitter moments in recent political history often drew the ire of opponents and made them the target of criticism and physical threats. Prosecutors said the recent attack on Paul Pelosi, her husband, at the couple’s San Francisco home was politically motivated.

Ultimately, however, her decision to step down focused on making room for a new generation of leaders.

Here’s a look at Pelosi’s career and its impact on this story.

Pelosi broke the marble ceiling

One of the highlights of Pelosi’s career would come in 2006, when she led House Democrats to reclaim a majority from Republicans, who had controlled the chamber since the 1994 GOP election. The war in Iraq had angered the nation, and a series of lobbying and ethics scandals provided Democrats with a platform to fight a “culture of corruption” in Washington DC, with popular promises to “drain the swamp.”

Rep. Nancy Pelosi flexes her muscles before receiving the Orator's Gavel from Rep. John Boehner in January 2007 at the start of the 110th Congress, her first as House Speaker.

Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

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AFP via Getty Images

Rep. Nancy Pelosi flexes her muscles before receiving the Orator’s Gavel from Rep. John Boehner in January 2007 at the start of the 110th Congress, her first as House Speaker.

It worked, the Democrats took control of the House of Representatives, making big promises to change the way Washington worked. “The American people voted to restore integrity and honesty to Washington DC, and the Democrats intend to conduct the most honest, open and ethical Congress in history,” Pelosi said the day after the election.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is sworn in as Speaker during the 1st session of the 111th Congress January 6, 2009 while surrounded by her own grandchildren and the children of members of Congress.

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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is sworn in as Speaker during the 1st session of the 111th Congress January 6, 2009 while surrounded by her own grandchildren and the children of members of Congress.

In 2007, after serving in other party leadership positions, she became the first woman elected by her peers to be Speaker of the House of Representatives, forever securing her place in history for covering the “marble ceiling” of the previous male-dominated leadership of the congress. She did it again in 2019, becoming the first speaker to lose and regain the gavel since legendary Congressman Sam Rayburn.

President Donald Trump addresses Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi of California as he delivers his State of the Union address to Vice President Mike Pence on February 5, 2019.

President Donald Trump addresses Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi of California as he delivers his State of the Union address to Vice President Mike Pence on February 5, 2019.

Pelosi’s position spanned four presidencies

Pelosi ended up serving her two rounds as a speaker alongside four presidents — George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Donald Trump, and Joe Biden — two Republicans she deeply despised and two Democrats without whom she could not have accomplished so much can you.

She was one of Bush’s most prominent critics in Congress during a scandalous era on Capitol Hill coupled with a deepening Iraq war, the aftermath of government mismanagement by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and a near-collapse in the 2008 financial crisis bless him. bless his heart The President of the United States, a total failure. Losing all credibility with the American people on the economy, on the war, on the energy, you name the issue,” she said of Bush in 2008.

But Pelosi, who often boasted of being a “master lawmaker,” also worked with the Bush administration to keep foreign wars funded — often to the chagrin of the party’s liberal base — and reliably provided Democratic votes for must-pass legislation necessary.

As a speaker, Pelosi served as a critical ally to the nation’s first black president, Barack Obama, and together enacted one of their signature legislative achievements, the landmark Affordable Care Act of 2010, which brought the nation closer to health care for all Americans.

She led former President Trump’s two impeachment trials in the House of Representatives, the first with some hesitation over how it would divide the nation over Trump’s role in pressuring the Ukrainian government to investigate the Biden family, and the second with great enthusiasm for Trump’s role in inciting an indictment in January On June 6, 2021, rioted in the US Capitol during the vote count to secure Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential victory. Trump was acquitted by the Senate on both counts.

In this March 23, 2010 file photo, President Barack Obama signs the Affordable Care Act in the East Room of the White House in Washington surrounded by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other lawmakers.

J Scott Applewhite/AP

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AP

In this March 23, 2010 file photo, President Barack Obama signs the Affordable Care Act in the East Room of the White House in Washington surrounded by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other lawmakers.

Under both the Trump and Biden administrations, Pelosi helped legislate trillions in new spending and government programs during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 and beyond as part of public health and economic recovery efforts.

Pelosi could help send trillions of dollars in COVID relief funds through the House of Representatives.

When the Democrats lost the House of Representatives in the 2022 midterm elections, Pelosi finally did what most Democrats had expected of her a decade earlier and resigned from the party leadership and has vowed to serve in the House of Representatives.

“History will find that she is the most consistent Speaker of the House in our history,” President Biden said when she stepped down from the leadership in November 2022, who lauded her as “a unique force securing one-off bills that will be ours.” define the nation for decades to come.”

Unlike other lawmakers running for Congress, Pelosi never harbored political ambitions beyond speakership. From the day she first laid the gavel on the floor of the house, she knew she had earned her place in history as a female political icon.

“To our daughters and granddaughters: today we broke the marble ceiling,” Pelosi said in 2007, “for our daughters and granddaughters, the sky is the limit now—for them anything is possible.”

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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Mike Pence speak during a joint session of Congress January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC Congress held a joint session today to review President-elect Joe Biden's 306-232 Electoral College victory over President Donald to ratify Trump.

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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Mike Pence speak during a joint session of Congress January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC Congress held a joint session today to review President-elect Joe Biden’s 306-232 Electoral College victory over President Donald to ratify Trump.

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