ABC News' Dean Norland & John R. Parkinson report:
Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer spoke with reporters late Tuesday evening as they headed into the Democrat caucus to discuss the party’s plan to move America forward. The top two Democrats worked to contrast House Democrats and Republicans heading into this fall’s congressional midterm elections.
“It’s about three things: About making the distinction between Democrats and Republicans. We’re for preserving Social Security, tax cuts for the middle class, and making it in America,” Pelosi said. “It’s contrasted with the Republicans, who want to privatize Social Security, tax cuts for the wealthy and send jobs overseas.”
When asked whether she feared the political climate has changed enough that she may lose her post as Speaker of the House, Pelosi admitted the game has changed since the 2008 election, but predicted that Democrats will hold onto their majority through November’s midterm elections.
“First of all this has nothing to do with me. It’s about our fight for the American people. I feel pretty confident about the caliber of our candidates. Our members are battle-tested, they’ve won these districts before,” Pelosi said. “The American people have to choose between a candidate who’s there to represent the table in the board room or the kitchen table in the American people’s homes. Whose interests are we here to protect? We believe that the people’s interest should prevail and that’s our case.”
Asked whether Democrats would pass an extension of the middle class tax cuts before the House adjourns again in four weeks, Majority Leader Hoyer, D-Maryland, said Democrats are fully committed to extending the middle class tax cuts, but did not offer a specific timetable for when the House would bring the issue to the floor.
“We’re committed to the policy and that policy is to absolutely ensure that Republican phasing out of the middle class tax cut will not happen,” Hoyer said. “We’re going to make sure at some point in time before that tax goes up for middle class working Americans – that it does not go up. We’re going to keep taxes low for working Americans. That’s our objective. We’ll have to see from that point in time over the next week or so what happened here and in the United States Senate. Then we’ll have to see how we can proceed to accomplish that objective.”
Pelosi and Hoyer also prodded the Senate to pass small business legislation so that they can take up the bill in the House, with Pelosi calling the measure “one of the first important pieces of legislation as we go forward.”
The speaker also spoke briefly about the bipartisan, bicameral event on the steps of the Capitol Wednesday afternoon commemorating the ninth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
“We remember that our first responsibility to the American people is to keep them safe," Pelosi said. "We take that oath when we pledge to protect and defend the Constitution of the American people.”