UPDATE — 11/28, 3:17 p.m. EST: House Democrats voted to nominate Nancy Pelosi as speaker of the 116th Congress’ lower chamber Wednesday after the long-time California congresswoman agreed to three parliamentary rules changes proposed by a handful of party moderates in the Problems Solvers Caucus.
Specifically, nine Democratic members headed by New Jersey’s Josh Gottheimer demanded any proposed legislation with at least 290 co-sponsors or amendments with 20 co-sponsors be guaranteed a floor vote, and all congresspersons will have at least one bill they introduce be voted on by his or her respective committee.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has drawn one step closer to returning as speaker when Congress begins its next session in 2019 by earning the support of Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) on Tuesday.
Ms. Fudge, a member and former chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, had briefly expressed an interest in running for House speaker herself, but now says after meeting with Pelosi she is confident female African-American members “will have a seat at the decision-making table.”
Immediately following Fudge abandoning her challenge to Pelosi, Ms. Pelosi named Fudge chair of a subcommittee with election oversight.
Fudge declining to take on Pelosi likely sweeps away any potential challenger to the California Democrat. After offering her support, Fudge similarly endorsed Reps. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) to leadership posts
Pelosi, who has served as House Democratic leader since 2002, has faced a growing rebellion among 16 caucus members, 11 sitting members and five freshmen, all of whom publicly pledged to oppose her return as speaker.
Most members opposing Pelosi have vowed to stand firm against the minority leader; some have stated publicly no plum committee chairmanship will induce a change of mind.
In a letter released to the public Monday, the 16 declared new leadership is required for Democrats as the party prepares to take control over the House.
“We promised to change the status quo, and we intend to deliver on that promise,” read one passage of the letter.
House Democrats picked up 39 seats in early November mid-term elections, but Ms. Pelosi will require 218 of 435 member votes to return to the speaker’s post. Democrats are likely to occupy at least 233 House seats in the 116th Congress.
The insurgent group’s defiance means Pelosi cannot afford to lose more than one vote among the remaining committed or uncommitted caucus if all 16 renegades vote against her in the full floor vote.
Shortly after Ms. Fudge threw her support behind Pelosi, the California Democrat received another boost in her bid for the top position in the House, this one from former President Barack Obama.
“Nancy is not always the best on a cable show or with a quick soundbite or what have you,” he said. “But her skill, tenacity, toughness, vision, is remarkable. Her stamina, her ability to see around corners, her ability to stand her ground and do hard things and to suffer unpopularity to get the right thing done, I think, stands up against any person that I’ve observed or worked directly with in Washington during my lifetime.”
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