Nancy Pelosi staged a record-breaking, eight-hour speech Wednesday in an attempt to force a House vote on protections for the "Dreamer" immigrants—and to prove to an increasingly angry wing of progressives and activists that she has done all she could, the AP reports. Wearing four-inch heels and forgoing any breaks, the House minority leader spent much of the rare talkathon reading personal letters from the young immigrants whose temporary protection from deportation is set to expire next month. Pelosi quoted from the Bible and Pope Francis, as Democrats took turns sitting behind her in support. The Office of the House Historian said it was the longest continuous speech in the chamber on record. "You see, these people are being deported," Pelosi said around hour six of her speech. "We can do something today to at least make whole the children."
The performance had no immediate impact on Republican leaders who have not agreed to a vote. But it was perhaps equally aimed at the liberal wing of Pelosi's own party, who seethed Wednesday as Democrats in the Senate cut a budget deal that could quickly steal the momentum behind the effort to resolve the Dreamers' plight. Pelosi started her remarks just about 10am and yielded the floor at 6:11pm. By the end of the marathon, the clearest signs of weariness were an occasional quiver in her voice, a stumble over her words, and a case of the sniffles. At one point she interrupted herself to read a note from the House historian alerting her that she delivered the longest continuous speech, besting Rep. Champ Clark's five-hour, 15-minute stem-winder about tariff reform in 1909. As Pelosi wrapped, she received a standing ovation from the Democrats.