Democrats are planning for Pelosi's expected exit from House leadership, Hakeem Jeffries seen as favorite to lead caucus: report
- With Speaker
Nancy Pelosi's expected exit from leadership, Democratic leaders ponder the future.
- House Democratic Caucus Chair
Hakeem Jeffriesis seen as the favorite to succeed Pelosi.
When Democrats regained control of the House in 2018, 16 party members signed a letter expressing opposition to Nancy Pelosi's ascension to the speakership.
At that point, Pelosi had led the House Democratic Caucus since 2003 — and had previously served as speaker from 2007 to 2011 — and despite the pushback, she still had broad support from most members.
In December 2018, Pelosi came to an agreement that would limit her tenure to four years as speaker, and she went on to earn the support of many of the moderate and newly elected lawmakers who were initially resistant to her leadership.
The speaker can point to many consequential pieces of legislation that she shepherded through the House, including the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and the Affordable Care Act. She also muscled President Joe Biden's domestic agenda through a closely divided House.
But with the 2022 midterm elections in sight, Pelosi, 81, is expected to leave her post at the end of the current Congress, with Democrats anticipating a leadership shift that may define their party for years to come as a new generation takes hold, The Washington Post reported.
For as long as Pelosi has led the caucus, Rep.
In the coming years, though, the party's House leadership is set to be dramatically different.
'He's brilliant, he's smooth, but he is fearless'
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York, the current chair of the House Democratic Caucus, is the favorite to succeed Pelosi when she steps down from her position, but a debate over who will serve in leadership has just started and may expose a gulf between progressives and moderates, The Post reported.
With a growing progressive wing of the party coming into its own, there may be a reckoning on how the party plans to counter the GOP, which is still overwhelmingly defined by the influence of former President Donald Trump.
Rep. Ro Khanna of California, a progressive who's been an influential liaison to the Biden White House, told The Post that the next generation of leadership would have to listen intently to members.
"I think we want leadership that bridges some of the different ideological wings of the party, that is committed to listening to all of the perspectives, that will be capable of helping move the Senate or things that have stalled in the House, and has a bold vision of what we need to achieve for the American public," he said.
He continued, "But whoever it is, I hope they would adopt progressive positions and also listen to the broad caucus and build consensus."
The Post interviewed over two dozen lawmakers, with members expressing deep respect for Pelosi. But some lawmakers were also eager for a different leadership style.
Rep. Brad Schneider of Illinois, a moderate, wanted to see a leader in the mold of Pelosi.
"I want to make sure that it is someone who can pull the party together," he told the Post.
"As Pelosi says: 'Our diversity is our strength, and unity is our power.' I want to make sure it's someone who can hold that unity," he continued.
But Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington, the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, suggested that a more decentralized nucleus of power might prove to be more effective.
"I think there was a 'holding of power' model that worked very well for a long time, and I think now it is more about a recognition of different centers of focus within the Democratic caucus that have to be brought in and brought together," she told The Post.
Members interviewed by The Post said Pelosi's replacement should also be as historically significant as her status as the chamber's first female speaker.
If Jeffries succeeds Pelosi, he will become the first Black person in US history to lead a chamber of Congress.
The members who were interviewed by The Post overwhelmingly viewed Jeffries as a skilled communicator, and one lawmaker who backed Jeffries' ascension spoke of his style in glowing terms.
"He's brilliant, he's smooth, but he is fearless," the lawmaker said. "I mean, if we are fighting for something, I want Hakeem Jeffries on my side because he will go to the mat on an issue."
Hoyer and Rep. Adam Schiff, whose national profile has soared as the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, were both eyeing a run to succeed Pelosi, The Post reported.
And Reps. Katherine Clark of Massachusetts and Pete Aguilar of California were seen as part of the next contingent of House leaders, the report said.
A major concern that has been raised among members is that huge changes could result in the loss of stability that has come to define the Democratic caucus under Pelosi, Hoyer, and Clyburn — as opposed to the House Republican Caucus, which is often mired in infighting.
"She understands how to get things done and how to keep us together, even if it looks a little bit messy from the outside," a Democratic member told The Post.
When Pelosi was asked during a November 2020 news conference if she would relinquish the speaker's gavel after the 117th Congress, she pointed to her prior commitment.
"What I said then is whether it passes or not, I will abide by those limits that are there," she said.
- Ban on single-use plastic kicks in across India as the country recognises the choking impacts of plastic waste on the environment
- Bank FDs will draw down from mutual funds if interest rates go up to 7.5-8%, says report
- Best smartphones under ₹40,000 in India
- Are we worse off than we were in 2008? Foreign investors seem to think so
- MSMEs run on promoter’s savings and need insurance as much as other businesses