Nancy Pelosi, Meet Nancy Pelosi

California Democrat can't live down her dismissal of $1,000 tax-cut bonuses as 'crumbs' in 2017 after praising $40 pay increases in 2011

by Kathryn Blackhurst | Updated 13 Feb 2018 at 6:52 AM

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) believes that $1,000 tax bonuses for American workers are mere “crumbs.” But back in 2011, she had nothing but praise for the $40 Americans received after lawmakers temporarily extended a payroll tax cut under former President Barack Obama.

“In terms of the bonus that corporate America received versus the crumbs that they are giving workers to kind of put the schmooze on is so pathetic. It’s so pathetic,” Pelosi said during a Jan. 11, 2018, press conference on President Donald Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

“I think it’s insignificant,” Pelosi said after hundreds of companies awarded thousands of employees bonuses, wage hikes, and 401(k) match increases following enactment of the tax reform.

Pelosi sang a different tune in 2011 under Obama.

“Today’s agreement is a victory for the American people — they spoke out clearly & #40dollars each paycheck will make a difference,” Pelosi tweeted on Dec. 22, 2011, after lawmakers temporarily extended the payroll tax cut.

"The American people spoke out clearly and, thanks to President Obama's leadership, 160 million Americans will continue to receive their payroll tax cut — nearly $40 per paycheck in the pockets of the average family," Pelosi said.

"I salute the work of the unified House Democratic caucus on behalf of the American people," she added.

Pelosi has recently doubled-down on her "crumbs" comment about the Trump tax cuts, including remarks she delivered during a Florida Atlantic University town hall meeting, where she compared the bonuses to a "cartoon that I just love" to illustrate.

"There's a little mouse trap who's got a little piece of cheese on there and there's a mouse about to take it and that's called the middle class," Pelosi said. "And around it are fat cats — they look a lot like elephants but anyway, around there. And that's the thing. Get this little thing and we get this big bonanza. You get the crumb, we get the banquet."

Democratic lawmakers celebrated the $40 bonuses, and the Obama administration even created a website called "What $40 Means to Americans Across the Country."

Obama promoted the $40 increases multiple times on Twitter as well. And during his weekly address on Feb. 11, 2012, Obama said, "If you're a family making about $50,000 a year, this tax cut amounts to about $1,000 a year. That's about $40 in every paycheck."

"I know there are some folks in this town who think $40 isn't a lot of money," Obama added. "But to a student or a senior who's trying to stretch the budget a little bit further? To a parent who's filling up the tank and looking at rising gas prices? To them, $40 can make all the difference in the world."

Related: Trump Compares Pelosi's 'Crumbs' to Hillary's 'Deplorables'

Trump has compared Pelosi's "crumbs" dismissal to 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's infamous characterization of her rival's supporters as "a basket of deplorables."

"When I came into this beautiful building, just a little while ago, one of the people said, 'You know, I just got a check. And I have $221 more than I had last year at this time in my envelope,'" Trump told attendees at a GOP retreat on February 1. "And then we got hit with these corporations giving tremendous bonuses to everybody that Nancy Pelosi called 'crumbs.'"

"That was a bad ... that could be like 'deplorable,' does that make sense?" Trump added. "Deplorable and crumbs? Those two words — they seem to have a resemblance. I hope it has the same meaning. But she called it crumbs when people are getting $2,000 and $3,000 and $1,000. That's not crumbs. That's a lot of money."

PoliZette writer Kathryn Blackhurst can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter.

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