Pelosi sets record for longest speech in House history


House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Wednesday set a record for the longest speech on record in the chamber after she spoke in defense of young immigrants for more than seven hours on the House floor.

In her speech, Pelosi read letters from recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program who have found jobs using the program’s work permits.

“Our Dreamers hang in limbo, with a cruel cloud of fear and uncertainty above them. The Republican moral cowardice must end,” the Democratic leader said, using a term commonly used to refer to immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children, some of whom are protected under DACA.


“I’m going to go on as long as my leadership minute allows,” she added.

The House has no filibuster, as the majority holds tight control over floor speeches, but three members of House leadership are allowed unlimited speaking time: the Speaker, majority leader and minority leader.

Reading a note from a colleague, Pelosi noted shortly after 5 p.m. that she had set the record for the longest House speech on record since at least 1909, breaking the record held by former Speaker Champ Clark (D-Mo.), who held the floor for five hours and 15 minutes to protest tariffs.

“I just got word that the House historian confirms you have now set the record for the longest-continuous speech in the House, since at least 1909,” Pelosi said, reading a letter from a colleague.

“I wonder what that was,” she added, laughing.

Democrats have battled Republicans and the Trump administration for weeks over a legislative fix for the hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients.

President Trump announced in September that he would rescind the Obama-era program, giving lawmakers a March 5 deadline to pass protections for the recipients.

The White House last month outlined a plan to provide a path to citizenship for as many as 1.8 million Dreamers if Democrats agree to a plan that would include spending for a border wall on the U.S.-Mexican border, among other measures.

Reaction to Pelosi’s speech Thursday from House Democrats was largely positive, but some members who have urged House leadership to be stronger on protecting DACA recipients were less impressed by the marathon speech.

“Good for her. I’m happy she’s stepping up. I hope now she keeps the fight going. Speeches are great … But more important is to maintain your principle,” Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) said, adding that it “was a nice gesture” if Pelosi doesn’t hold the Democratic line against Republicans on the issue.

Pelosi’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.

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