Update as of 3:15 p.m. PT: Pelosi has now concluded her speech after eight hours. The House Historian's office confirmed to CNN that her address marks the longest House floor speech on record.
Original story: Nancy Pelosi, the 77-year-old House Minority Leader, is spending Feb. 7 standing up for Dreamers — quite literally. In what experts think may be one of, if not the, longest House addresses in history, the California Democrat is demanding that the Senate include DACA protections as part of its budget deal. At the time we published this story, Pelosi had already spoken for more than six hours without taking a seat, let alone a bathroom break. (And did we mention she's doing it in four-inch heels?)
Pelosi is demanding that Republicans Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell commit to opening up a debate on immigration and DACA. The DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program, which was instituted under President Obama in 2012, has been in limbo since President Donald Trump announced that he would allow the program to expire on March 5 of this year. Pelosi has faced criticism from Dreamers and their advocates who say she and fellow Democrats have not pushed hard enough for a "clean" Dream Act — in other words, a Dream Act that would not include other immigration restrictions favored by Trump and Republicans.
Today, Pelosi said she and other prominent Dems will not vote for a budget legislation that does not extend help to Dreamers and has been reading aloud from letters written by several DACA recipients as she holds the floor.
"Will America be a stronger country if we deport him and others like him?" Pelosi asked after sharing the story of a DACA recipient who made the Forbes "30 Under 30" List, volunteers at a homeless shelter, and is attending medical school. "Will we be a better country if we tear apart American families? Of course not. We all agree on that."
Pelosi also read a harrowing letter from current DACA recipient Gladys Klamka, who wrote that she was molested by a 16-year-old boy when she was just 4 years old. Her parents, she said, did not report the crime because they were afraid of being deported. "After election day I wondered if this dream would soon end, it's been a hard reality check that privileges could be taken away," her letter said.
You can watch Pelosi's address live above, and take a look at some of the awed reactions her marathon speech is sparking online:
Nancy Pelosi is a badass and you’ll never convince me otherwise. https://t.co/pc5sfQwERe— Jon Favreau (@jonfavs) February 7, 2018
.@NancyPelosi has been standing in four inch heels and talking for five hours straight about #Dreamers and #DACA on the House floor.— Sarah D. Wire (@sarahdwire) February 7, 2018
More and more House members have trickled into the chamber to listen
WE STUMPED THE HISTORIAN! House Historian’s Office says they’re still trying to determine if the floor speech @NancyPelosi is giving is the longest in House history: https://t.co/a6C3TgbJU5?amp=1— Ed O'Keefe (@edokeefe) February 7, 2018