By: Ginger Gibson
December 12, 2013 09:52 AM EST
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told Democratic House members at a meeting Thursday morning to “embrace the suck” and encouraged enough members to back the budget deal on the floor to allow passage, according to an attendee of the meeting.
“We need to get this off the table so we can go forward,” Pelosi told her members, according to someone inside the closed meeting of the caucus.
Pelosi pushed for including in the budget deal an extension of the unemployment benefits that are set to expire at the end of the month. While she expressed a continued unhappiness that there will be no vote on those benefits before the House heads home Friday, she said that it wasn’t worth holding up the deal.
Democrats expect that Republicans won’t be able to produce enough votes in their conference to pass the deal, requiring a sizable number of Democrats to vote with them in order to ensure passage. Pelosi, along with the rest of the House Democratic leadership, have withheld publicly backing the budget deal this week, with some waiting to see how much support from their caucus was going to be necessary.
The deal was crafted by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and gets rid of some the sequester cuts, including the $20 billion in defense cuts that would have taken effect next month, by reordering some other cuts, increasing fees, including those on airline passengers for the TSA, and changing pension benefits for new federal workers.
Pelosi told Democrats — many of whom had expressed unhappiness with the lack of unemployment benefits being included — that there were better fights to have with Republicans. She argued that by allowing the budget deal to move forward, Democrats could turn their attention to the “do-nothing GOP message” that her party has been pushing, according to someone in the meeting.
Pelosi said Democrats can focus on job creation, infrastructure funding, immigration reform and minimum wage increases.