Sources: Nancy Pelosi ‘Kicked Out’ Of Meeting With House Progressive Caucus Amid Tense Budget Talks

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) holds her weekly news conference in the Capitol Visitors Center at the U.S. Capitol building on October 28, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

This is a special breaking news issue of The Uprising, a politics newsletter dedicated to original, independent journalism. If you enjoyed this story and want to read more like it, please sign up!

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi apparently found herself persona non grata at a meeting of the Congressional Progressive Caucus on Thursday as she attempted to persuade left wing Democrats to sign off on bipartisan infrastructure legislation. 

Multiple sources confirmed to The Uprising that Pelosi was “kicked out” of the meeting by Progressive Caucus Chairwoman Pramila Jayapal.

“She got kicked out and said she was leaving anyway,” a Democratic staffer, who was granted anonymity to discuss the confidential meeting, said of Pelosi. 

Spokespeople for Pelosi and Jayapal did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Pelosi was observed entering the meeting and leaving just over ten minutes after she walked in. The speaker did not answer questions from reporters as she left. After this story was published, Pelosi’s Deputy Chief of Staff Drew Hammill disputed the characterization of her departure.

Chris Evans, a spokesperson for Jayapal, similarly denied Pelosi was “kicked out” of the meeting.

Pelosi has been trying to push progressives to vote for bipartisan infrastructure legislation, which is known on the Hill as “BIF,” as soon as possible to provide President Biden with a key legislative victory before he travels to Europe.

According to a second Democratic staffer, who was also granted anonymity, progressives are concerned about supporting the legislation without knowing that Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) — the key swing votes in the Senate – are willing to back Biden’s larger “Build Back Better” framework. The White House unveiled that framework on Thursday morning with a statement declaring the president is “confident this is a framework that can pass both houses of Congress.” The second staffer, who was also granted anonymity, said progressives have their doubts. 

“They don’t trust Sinema and Manchin because Manchin and Sinema have demonstrated over and over again that they’re not trustworthy,” the staffer said.  

Sinema and Manchin have been asked repeatedly if they support Biden’s framework and have not given a clear answer. Spokespeople for the two senators did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Progressives left the meeting indicating their was unanimous support for Biden’s agenda and some, including Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO), explicitly said they would not vote on BIF until the Senate votes on the BBB framework. Bush told reporters Sinema and Manchin “have not been good faith actors up until this point.”

According to the second staffer, Pelosi “probably wanted” to take progressives’ temperature. However, the staffer said this likely created an awkward situation since progressives typically expect a “family discussion” within their caucus. 

“Having Nancy or [House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer] come into that is like having mom or dad show up at your slumber party,” the staffer said. “It crimps your vibe a bit.” 

This story was updated with comments from Drew Hammill and Chris Evans at 4:45 p.m.