House Speaker Nancy Pelosi officially stepped away from leadership last week after two decades directing the political agenda of House Democrats.
There’s no denying the historic nature of the California lawmaker’s tenure, whose leadership began in 2002 when she became the first woman elected House minority whip. She’d go on to take up the gavel of House speaker twice (from 2007–2011 and 2019–2023), making her the only female House speaker in history and one of a few to serve nonconsecutive terms.
As far as political careers go, Pelosi’s has been a clear success. Yet as journalists write hagiographic portraits of her career, one aspect of Pelosi’s legacy has received little attention: the massive federal debt accumulated since she ascended to leadership in Washington.
When Pelosi became minority leader in 2003, the national debt stood at $6.2 trillion. When she turns over the speaker’s gavel, the national debt will be $31.5 trillion. In other words, about 80 percent of the debt accumulated in all of U.S. history was accrued since Pelosi ascended to a leadership position in Congress.
This does not mean, of course, that Pelosi is solely responsible for the debt crisis facing the United States. The list of those who deserve blame is long, and it includes members of both major political parties. Read more…