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Pelosi paints Trump and McConnell as twin impediments to progress

Pelosi paints Trump and McConnell as twin impediments to progress
© Hill.TV

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump expressed doubt to donors GOP can hold Senate: report Senators battle over Supreme Court nominee in rare Saturday session Sunday shows preview: Trump, Biden gear up for final sprint to Election Day MORE (D-Calif.) vowed Wednesday that Democrats will run the tables on the Republicans in November, predicting her party will make gains in the House, flip the Senate and unseat President TrumpDonald John TrumpObama slams Trump in Miami: 'Florida Man wouldn't even do this stuff' Trump makes his case in North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin Pence's chief of staff tests positive for COVID-19 MORE to solidify unified power in 2021.

Speaking on the third night of the Democratic National Convention, Pelosi painted equal villains of Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump expressed doubt to donors GOP can hold Senate: report Senators battle over Supreme Court nominee in rare Saturday session Sunday shows preview: Trump, Biden gear up for final sprint to Election Day MORE (R-Ky.) — a clear message to voters that Democrats deem the Senate to be a prize on par with the White House this election season.

To make the case, Pelosi ticked off a long list of legislative proposals that House Democrats have passed over the last 20 months, including bills to lower prescription drug costs, build the nation's infrastructure, battle climate change and bolster voting rights — all of which have sat idle in the Senate.

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"All of this is possible for America," Pelosi said from San Francisco during the Democrats' virtual convention. "Who is standing in the way? Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump."

That message is not quite new. Pelosi, since taking the Speaker's gavel for a second time last year, has portrayed McConnell as a mortician-like figure — one hell-bent on burying hundreds of House-passed bills by simply ignoring them. And McConnell has embraced the role, casting himself as the "Grim Reaper," poised to kill the Democrats' top policy priorities.

In that vein, McConnell's campaign responded to Pelosi's speech Wednesday by tweeting a short video of the majority leader waving from the chamber floor, a smirk on his face.

"Hi Nance," it read.

Still, Pelosi's emphasis on McConnell during her high-profile convention speech is an indication of the value Democrats are placing on winning control of the upper chamber, even as the week's focus has been to lionize Joe BidenJoe BidenObama slams Trump in Miami: 'Florida Man wouldn't even do this stuff' Trump makes his case in North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin Brad Pitt narrates Biden ad airing during World Series MORE, the party's presidential nominee, and energize their base in preparation for a tough fight against Trump in November.

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The coronavirus pandemic has only fueled the sense of urgency behind the Democrats' pleas for voters to hand them the Senate, on top of the presidency. And Pelosi was quick to tout the HEROES Act, the Democrats' $3.4 trillion emergency response to the coronavirus — passed by the House in May — which has been roundly rejected by Republicans in the Senate and White House.

That legislation, Pelosi said, "is essential to safeguard lives, livelihood and the life of our democracy."

"And who is standing in the way? Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump."

Pelosi, the first female Speaker in U.S. history, also extolled Biden's choice of Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisTrump knocks idea of a 'female socialist president' Sanders hits back at Trump's attack on 'socialized medicine' Watch live: Biden participates in HBCU homecoming MORE (D-Calif.) as his running mate. Harris is, Pelosi said, "a witness to the women of this nation that their voices will be heard."

"When women succeed, America succeeds," she said.

Bold predictions are hardly new for Pelosi — but nor does she have a flawless track record as a prognosticator. As Speaker in 2010, she promised that Democrats would keep the House, only to see Republicans pick up 63 seats that November, and the gavel. In 2016, she declared that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonObama slams Trump in Miami: 'Florida Man wouldn't even do this stuff' Ballot initiatives in Colorado, Louisiana could restrict abortion access Trump mocks Joe Biden's drive-in rallies at North Carolina event MORE would surely be the first female president, just before Trump won the White House.

But less than three months from this year's elections — with Biden leading in the polls, and a number of GOP senators facing increasingly tough reelection odds — Pelosi is bullish once again.

"We will increase our majority in the House; we will win a Democratic Senate," she said. "[And] we will elect Kamala Harris vice president and Joe Biden president of the United States of America."