Democrats may have re-elected Nancy Pelosi as their House leader this week, but she's taking lots of criticism from within her own party and beyond over one controversial move, reports Roll Call. Pelosi refused to let Rep. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois vote by proxy in the party's leadership elections. It's not some humdrum procedural issue, however: Duckworth lost both legs in Iraq and now can't travel to DC because she's pregnant. Pelosi took a rules-are-rules position, which isn't sitting well. “A lot of people felt that Tammy's patriotism and sacrifice to this country warrants special consideration," says Rep. Bennie Thompson. But the bigger issue is that some critics see blatant politics at play.
As the Hill explains, Pelosi had been pushing for her friend, Rep. Anna Eshoo, to take over as ranking Democrat on the mighty Energy and Commerce Committee. But with the vote tight, and with Duckworth in favor of Rep. Frank Pallone for the spot, critics think Pelosi refused to give Duckworth a break in order to help Eshoo. "You’re suppressing the vote of a minority pregnant woman who is a wounded war veteran," says Jon Stewart, accusing Pelosi of "craven" politics, reports the Washington Post. "She is everything you supposedly stand for." As it turns out, all that bad publicity was for naught anyway: Pallone won the committee post today in a closed-door vote of 100-90, reports AP. (Read more Tammy Duckworth stories.)