House Speaker Nancy Pelosi expressed optimism Sunday that Democrats will maintain control of the House in November even as momentum appears to be building behind Republican candidates in the final weeks of the campaign.
“For a year and a half, the media has been saying, ‘Oh, it’s gone, president’s party always loses in the off-year.’ And now we’re down to the stretch. And we’re down to very close races. And we feel very confident,” Pelosi said in an interview with “Face the Nation.” “I’ve been in over 20 states since Congress adjourned in the last month or so. And I see very clearly that the ownership of the ground is with us.”
While Democrats had gained on Republicans’ lead in the fight for the majority in the House, the latest CBS News Battleground Tracker House estimate found that the GOP’s lead has stabilized at 224 seats compared to Democrats’ 211.
Driving the shift for Republicans is voters’ views of the economy, which have worsened due to high consumer prices, a volatile stock market and gas prices that remain high despite President Biden’s efforts to bring them down.
While Democrats initially chipped away at Republicans’ lead because of voters motivated by abortion rights after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade — and Democratic candidates have warned about abortion access if Republicans win — Pelosi said this election cycle is is about the economy.
“The elections are about the future. They’re about the economy. Everybody knows that,” she said. “Nobody said, ‘We’re doing abortion rather than the economy,’ but it’s about both. And I can tell you that that issue is very, very provocative.”
The speaker also defended the sweeping legislative packages Democrats passed with Mr. Biden’s support, including the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan and $750 billion health care, tax and climate package.
“The point is that, when you reduce unemployment, it’s inflationary. That is a fact,” she said. “When I was a new member of Congress, I was told that unemployment was dangerously low in our hearings on inflation and unemployment. Unemployment is dangerously low for what it does to inflation. But the fact is, the point is, is that this is about helping America’s working families meet their needs, and that was essential to them.”
Democrats, Pelosi continued, “feel proud of what we’ve done. We feel proud of the president. To help America’s working families to lower their cost, and in doing so to reduce the deficit.”
Pelosi, who has been on the campaign trail to help Democrats on the ballot, noted that many of the races this election cycle are close and warned a Republican-controlled House is a threat to entitlement programs.
“The Republicans have said that if they win, they want to subject Medicare, Social Security, health blackmail, to lifting the debt ceiling. They have said they would like to review Medicare and Social Security every five years, they have said that they would like to make it a discretionary spending that Congress could decide to do it or not, rather than mandatory,” she said. “So Social Security and Medicare are on the line, a woman’s right to choose is on the line, the planet is on the line, issues that relate to prescription drugs.”