By James K. Finley, NASW Staff
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hosted a thank you gathering this Wednesday, November 10, 2010 for progressive groups that had worked to support the many accomplishments of the 111th Congress. A major purpose of the event was to help Pelosi rally her troops to play defense next year. The Speaker thanked dozens of health, environmental and consumer advocates for their help on the major legislation enacted during the past two years. As NASW’s representative, I thanked Pelosi for leading the push to enact so much legislation supported by social workers — and to commit to helping next year in staving off congressional challenges to these same programs. NASW expects to work particularly closely with Pelosi next year to defend the health care overhaul for the 32 million Americans who could lose their coverage, if the legislation is repealed.
A surprising number of major bills were enacted the past two years under Speaker Pelosi’s that NASW strongly supported. These included the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, passage of historic health insurance reform, expansion of student aid and provision of direct loans to students, expansion of SCHIP children’s health care legislation, expansion of hate crimes legislation to cover women, sexual orientation, disability, race, religion, national origin, and gender identity, an increase of the minimum wage for the first time in ten years, and passage of Medicaid fiscal relief to the states.