Pelosi appears to have the votes to become House speaker again

Pelosi appears to have the votes to become House speaker again

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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) at her Thursday press conference, December 13, 2018, (Photo ©2018 Doug Christian)
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) at her Thursday press conference, December 13, 2018, (Photo ©2018 Doug Christian)

ON THE HILL WITH DOUG CHRISTIAN

CAPITOL HILL – After the House passed the $867 billion farm bill with strong bipartisan support, the lower chamber is looking forward to Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) taking the gavel as speaker of the House in January.

Pelosi needs 218 votes to win the speakership and was until now seemingly denied that position by a band of rebel Democrats.

Sixteen House Democrats had penned a letter demanding “new leadership” saying, “We promised to change the status quo, and we intend to deliver on that promise.” The authors continued, “Therefore, we are committed to voting for new leadership in both our Caucus meeting and on the House Floor.”

But Pelosi leveraged her considerable experience counting votes. She was aided by a lack of a viable opponent and focused on eight of those Democrats to flip with an agreement.

The eight flippers are Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.), Bill Foster (D-Ill.), Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.), Gil Cisneros (D-Calif.), Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.), Filemon Vela (D-Texas), and Linda Sánchez (D-Calif.).

The negotiated agreement involves retroactive term limits designed to open up opportunities for younger lawmakers. The agreement still needs to be formalized by Democrats.

The agreement would limit caucus leaders to three terms. Caucus leaders could achieve a fourth term if two-thirds of the caucus agrees to it. These limits would apply to Pelosi, incoming Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland and incoming Majority Whip Jim Clyburn of South Carolina.

Pelosi declared Wednesday evening:

“Over the summer, I made it clear that I see myself as a bridge to the next generation of leaders.” Pelosi said that she understands “a recognition of [her] continuing responsibility to mentor and advance new Members into power and responsibility in the House Democratic Caucus.”

Doug Christian, Capitol Hill

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