House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Tuesday endorsed different procedural tactics to advance two of President Barack Obama’s top legislative priorities. While she all but ruled out supporting anything short of a comprehensive approach to immigration reform, she opened the door to the possibility of lawmakers considering gun legislation in a piecemeal fashion.
Stuck in the minority, Pelosi lacks control over what bills come to the House floor. But her imprint will be felt on both immigration and gun legislation, if only because they will almost certainly require Democratic votes for passage. In that light, her embrace of different procedural strategies is a significant predictor of what types of congressional showdowns lay ahead.
Theory: as long as they’re nipping away at gun-control legislation, they can keep saying that people who think the government will eventually want a total gun grab are crazy. The backlash would be too overwhelming for them to go all-in for a wholesale gutting of the Second Amendment at the moment.
While not using the exact same tactics, it is somewhat like the segmented approach they are taking towards their single-payer health care dream. The IRS has already shown (to many of those who aren’t self employed, anyway) that Americans have short attention spans if the government is just nibbling away at something, even if it is something as precious as hard-earned income.
They can be a little bolder about immigration because it is something that almost every American believes is completely screwed up, even if they have greatly differing ideas as to the why of it being a mess.