The House of Representatives may not have an equivalent to filibusters, but that didn’t stop Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi from holding the House floor for over eight hours in support of Dreamers.
In a rarely used “magic minute” allowance given only to party leaders, Pelosi took the floor opposing a budget bill that didn’t include protections for undocumented immigrants, known as Dreamers. Breaking a record for longest continuous speech in the House since at least 1909, Pelosi read testimonials from Dreamers all over the country and demanded House Speaker Paul Ryan bring up bipartisan legislation to protect the young undocumented immigrants affected by the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which Trump ended in September. Despite the push from Democrats for a vote on a Dream Act, Ryan, who controls the House agenda, has been steadfast in not allowing a vote, maintaining that he will only bring legislation to a vote that Trump would sign.
During the speech, Pelosi told House members that she wanted to read testimonials from Dreamers to ensure their stories were part of public record. She said,“We want to be sure that the public record of the Congress of the United States forever more will reflect the stories of their great contribution to America in the hopes that those stories will move the Speaker of the House to give us a vote.”
Pelosi’s marathon speech, in which she wore four-inch heels and only sipped water, came as lawmakers are working to pass a spending bill to replace the short-term funding bill set to expire at midnight on Thursday, February 8th.
The 77-year-old lawmaker quickly developed a following online, as #GoNancyGo became the top trending topic on Twitter:
After speaking for eight hours and seven minutes, Pelosi finally yielded the floor to thunderous applause from Democrats. Responding to the outpouring of support on Twitter, Pelosi thanked Dreamers for sharing their stories and encouraged supporters to keep fighting for a Dream Act.
The deadline for lawmakers to produce a replacement bill for DACA is less than a month away and, despite bipartisan support, Republicans and Democrats have been unable to agree to a bill that would protect the nearly 700,000 undocumented immigrants affected by the end of DACA.