Congressional Democrats Nominate Nancy Pelosi for Speaker of the House

Overcoming early opposition, Pelosi is one crucial step closer to resuming the Speaker’s gavel in January.

Nancy Pelosi at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. (photo: A. Shaker/VOA)

Congressional Democrats Decide

Wednesday, the hard work paid off as Pelosi cinched the Congressional Democratic nomination 203 to 32 in her bid to lead the House Democratic Caucus next year. If approved by the full House, she will again wield the Speaker’s gavel, over a decade after she became the first female Speaker of the House in 2007.

Nothing New Under the Sun

Representative Nancy Pelosi delivers remarks at an April 2015 Equal Pay Day Discussion in Washington, DC. (photo: US Department of Labor)

An Uphill Battle

Pelosi’s leadership experience, qualifications and tenacity proved she was the only person qualified enough to deliver the change constituents were promised.

At 78, some wondered if Nancy Pelosi was too old to be an effective Speaker. Others answered, Nancy Pelosi is Old. Good. 16 Democrats wrote a letter vowing to oppose her; Pelosi put her decades of congressional experience to good use, winning over critics one by one. Including the only Democrat seriously considering a run against her.

Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge

Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH) was the most likely candidate; but when Pelosi offered to create a new House subcommittee on elections, naming Fudge as chair, she agreed to support Pelosi.

Winning Over the Holdouts Vote by Vote

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), who recently defeated Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) for caucus chair, is also now voicing support for Pelosi, saying, “There Will Be Opportunities For Next Generation Of Democrats”.

Rep. Brian Higgins (D- NY) will endorse her speaker bid in exchange for her support for two of his priorities: lowering the Medicare age and improving infrastructure.

Even Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA), long opposed to Pelosi leadership, has indicated he might endorse her.

One holdout, Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-NY), a key leader in the coup against Pelosi, is getting a great deal of pressure from campaign donors and constituents to get behind Pelosi.

“What I care about is that we are leading on those issues that are consequential to the American people. And the issue that was a priority to me is that we would be moving early in the session on a robust gun bill. And I got that commitment. I’ve been appointed to the gun violence task force.” -Rep-elect Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), on why she decided to support Pelosi.

Named in honor of the city’s longtime congresswoman, Nancy Pelosi Drive in San Francisco, Golden Gate Park. (photo: haha169)

Leadership Transition Plan

“Right now, Leader Pelosi will not have the 218 votes necessary to become speaker. Her three-person leadership team has been unchanged in 11 years. Our request was, and has always been, simple. Produce a meaningful plan for a leadership transition, as you promised in the summer, to allow a new generation of leadership to step forward.” -Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA)

President-elect Donald J. Trump and U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi smile for a photo during the 58th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, D.C., Jan. 20, 2017. (Department of Justice photo by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Marianique Santos)

All Eyes on Congressional Democrats

“Mutually Assured Destruction: A floor fight while the world is watching would make this the most highly rated swearing in for the wrong reasons. And I think it would lead to us losing the majority potentially on the first vote of a new Congress.” — Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL)

Though Democrats may have as many as 235 seats in the January 2019 vote, Pelosi can afford to lose very few Democratic supporters if she expects to secure the 218 votes needed to win. She is still about 15 votes away from that goal.

The full House of Representatives will hold the vote for the next speaker of the House on Jan. 3, 2019.

(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)

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