(CNSNews.com) - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she'll spend the holidays in Washington if she has to, "because we in public office -- this is what we sign up for."
But the House minority leader says she "should be home," bonding with her family.
"There’s absolutely no reason (to be stuck in Washington), but you know, again, it’s family values, faith in family, all of that, that’s what these holidays are largely about," the California Democrat told a news briefing on Wednesday.
"I have – we celebrate almost everything in our family, from Hanukkah -- I say that because that began last Saturday; to Christmas, and many other cultural -– and the beautiful diversity of San Francisco -- every other cultural, Kwanza, you name it, we’re there. But the fact is, is that these bonding opportunities for families, these rituals of our faith, and of our families, and of our communities are strengtheners of our communities, and we should be home to be doing that."
Pelosi told reporters that House "Republicans have isolated themselves" by failing to pass the middle income tax cut bill sent over by the Senate.
"What are they afraid of?" she asked. "Are they afraid of ... stopping, holding hostage middle income tax cuts to tax cuts for the wealthy? That’s getting really stale. It’s getting really old. And the closer we get to Christmas, it’s really getting boring. It smacks a little bit of Nero (who fiddled while Rome burned), but nonetheless it smacks of a lot of things around here."
Pelosi said it's important to consider what would happen if the nation's does not go over the fiscal cliff: "You send a message of confidence and cooperation and you send something very positive to the world because the world is watching -- and to the American people who depend on our reaching a solution."
Pelosi suggested that Republican leaders do what she did when she was House Speaker: "I do know there’s a way to bring a bill to the floor that accommodates the needs of the American people, that protects the Republicans who don’t want to vote for it, but that gets the job done for the American people."
She said Republicans could bring bills to the floor that don't have strong Republican support, such as a bill providing billions of dollars in Hurricane Sandy relief.
"They can bring a bill to the floor that the Republicans don’t have to vote for, except for 25 of them, and then they can, with that, bring a bill to the floor that does [Sandy relief] and all of the other domestic issues that will expire by the end of the year."
If the point is to avoid putting Republicans on the spot, "Figure it out," Pelosi said. "We did."