Pelosi praises state budget, Obama tactics on Iraq

By Fenit Nirappil

Associated Press

Published: Monday, June 16 2014 5:42 p.m. MDT

Updated: Monday, June 16 2014 5:42 p.m. MDT

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi talks with reporters after attending the opening of the new California Democratic Party headquarters in Sacramento, Calif., Monday, June 16, 2014. Pelosi called for minimal military involvement in Iraq and praised California for passing a timely budget.

Rich Pedroncelli, Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on a Monday visit to the state capital called for minimal military involvement in Iraq and praised California for passing a timely budget.

The San Francisco Democrat and former House speaker was flanked by Gov. Jerry Brown and other elected leaders to open the California Democratic Party headquarters.

In her remarks, she praised the state Legislature for passing a $108 billion budget on Sunday before the deadline. After the event, Pelosi told reporters it could have included more money for social services.

"We have an endless need for early childhood education and issues like that which I think are really critical to the success of our families as well as our state and our country," Pelosi said, mirroring similar sentiments from liberal advocates who wanted more money to help low-income Californians.

She praised the budget for making ongoing payments to the state's bullet train project using a fund meant to reduce greenhouse tax emissions. Pelosi brushed asides concerns that Kevin McCarthy, the Bakersfield Republican expected to become the new House majority leader and a vocal high-speed rail critic, would dash the prospects of federal money for the project.

"I know we would have the funding from D.C," Pelosi said. "But one of the excuses they would use is, 'well we don't know if they are going to have any funding from California.' That question has been answered."

Pelosi's visit came hours after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said in an interview with Yahoo News that the U.S. has not ruled out military cooperation with Iran in response to rising violence and deteriorating security conditions in Iraq.

Pelosi said she was open to such discussions, though military officials have downplayed the prospect since Kerry's comments.

"When they say military, as long as they don't mean boots on the ground, then we can talk about something if it means providing equipment or some other assist," said Pelosi, who favors President Barack Obama's call for Iraqi leaders rather than the U.S. military to resolve the sectarian violence.

Pelosi also said she would support providing arms to "responsible rebels" in Syria.

Follow Fenit Nirappil on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/FenitN .

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