Nancy Pelosi seems to indicate this may be her last term as House Speaker
The end of an era may be in sight with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) seemingly indicating that she will serve her last term in that capacity. She was tapped this week to remain as House Speaker for a seventh and eighth year. Pelosi made a series of vague comments Wednesday that this would be the end of her run as leader of the House.
“At the start of this Congress, there was a discussion about putting in place some kind of term limits for the leadership team. I’m curious if you anticipate this coming Congress would be your last as Speaker,” Pelosi was asked by a reporter at a news conference.
“When that conversation took place, there was a move to put limits on the leadership and chairs of committees,” Pelosi stated. “They said they were going to do it. They didn’t do it. Whether it passes or not, I will abide by those limits that are there.”
“So is that a kind of Shermanesque statement?” the reporter inquired.
“No, it’s not. It’s a statement that I made,” Pelosi said. “Listen, if my husband is listening, don’t let me have to be more specific than that. Because we never expected to have another term now.”
“I consider this a gift and I can’t wait to work with Joe Biden,” she gushed. “I don’t want to undermine any leverage I have but I made that statement.”
Democrats gathered Wednesday morning to pick their top leaders for the 117th Congress. Pelosi was unopposed for the Democratic nomination for Speaker. The GOP will run House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) for his seat once again.
The full House of Representatives elects the speaker when it convenes on Jan, 3. The speaker must get at least 218 out of 435 votes to be selected… that is a majority in the House.
In the last vote for Speaker of the House, Pelosi had 15 Democrats vote against her. She faces many challenges this time around including the fact that 10 incumbent House Democrats have been defeated, dashing expectations of adding seats and damaging party morale. There is a great deal of blame and strife in the Democratic Party currently, and much of it is aimed at Pelosi.
Eleven House races have yet to be called. Currently, the Democrats carry a 15-seat majority so they will retain control of the House. But their majority could shrink to perhaps a 222-213. That would be the smallest majority in decades.
Those blaming Pelosi from within are primarily progressives who are saying that the party failed to adequately win over minority and young liberal voters. Moderates say that they were hurt by far-left initiatives like defunding the police and that Pelosi should have struck a preelection stimulus deal with the White House.
Many Democrats want fresh, young, progressive leadership. Pelosi and House Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) have been the No. 1 and 2 House Democrats since 2003, while House Majority Whip Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) rose to the No. 3 rank in 2007. Pelosi and Clyburn are 80, Hoyer is 81.
Pelosi served her first four terms during the 2000s until Republicans recaptured the House majority in the Tea Party election of 2010, a conservative uprising that presaged the rise of Trump. She was the first female House speaker in history selected in 2007 and has ruled her party with an iron fist since then. Many see the current holding of the majority for the Dems in the House as a loss rather than a win because of the shrinkage in numbers and political power.