Nancy Pelosi is the most powerful member of Congress–again. She is Speaker of the House for a second time and wielding tremendous power with a Democrat in the White House. While misunderstood and maligned by many, she is, perhaps, the most effective person in that role since Sam Rayburn. Her Republican predecessors, John Boehner and Paul Ryan, look like amateurs when it comes to understanding how the U.S. House of Representatives works and getting bills through. Her centrality to virtually all of the key legislation passed in the 21st century is clear. In her book, ‘Pelosi’,TIME journalist Molly Ball describes how she came to be a master of the legislative process and the intracacies of the process. Her knowledge of the needs of each member of her caucus and their districts is key to knowing which legislation gets to the House floor. These are traditional skills, honed by party bosses of old, yet many mischaracterize her as a wide-eyed San Francisco liberal when her Baltimore roots, at the knee of her father who was Mayor and Congressman, better reflects her approach.
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