Nancy Pelosi, one of the most powerful speakers in modern U.S. history, will cede the helm of House Democratic leadership after 20 years and take on an unfamiliar role: Rank-and-file member.
Since she reclaimed the top gavel in 2018, the first woman speaker — whose legislative prowess has powered her party’s agenda under four presidents — planned to give it up after this term. Yet her decision became more complicated, she has said, by the brutal assault of her husband Paul last month.
“I will not seek reelection to Democratic leadership in the next Congress,” Pelosi said to a packed chamber that remained pin-drop silent as members took in her decision.
Then Democrats’ better-than-expected midterm election prompted personal pleas for her to stay from the president and Senate majority leader.
But in a floor speech attended by nearly every member of her Democratic caucus, including plenty of teary allies, Pelosi declared it was time for a “new generation” of leaders. Clad in stark white, the color of suffragists and her hue of choice for critical moments, the California Democrat delivered her farewell speech within a chamber where she has been a part of Washington’s biggest moments for decades. [Continue reading…]
U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to step down from her leadership role after her fellow Democrats lost their majority in last week’s midterm elections positions Hakeem Jeffries – a liberal congressman from New York – as a likely top contender to lead the party for the next two years.
Jeffries, 52, would be the first Black House Democratic leader, representing both the party’s diverse voter base and bringing a new generation of leadership. Pelosi, the first woman to hold the job of speaker, is 82, and two other members of the party’s leadership are in their 80s. House Democrats are scheduled to vote on their leaders on Nov. 30.
Jeffries, who has held the leadership post of House Democratic Caucus chairman since 2019, also would represent a stylistic contrast to Pelosi, who made her announcement on Thursday. She has proven in two stints as speaker to be hard-charging whereas he is generally considered more reserved. [Continue reading…]