Kansas Democrat Backs Pelosi Bid for House Speaker

Hugh Fox
November 29, 2018

First, Democrats continued to win House races that had been too close to call on election night, slowly building their majority to what could ultimately be a 40-seat gain. On Friday, the group warned that it had reached a "stalemate" and would not be able to support her for speaker.

Ms Pelosi was the first woman to be speaker when Democrats had the House majority from 2007 to 2011.

Those trying to oust Pelosi say they always knew the internal caucus election would fall in her favour.

Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaks at Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington on November 28, 2018, to announce her nomination by House Democrats to lead them in the new Congress.

Another notable change would eliminate the ability of one member to essentially force a vote of no confidence in the speaker, a threat that has allowed the House Freedom Caucus, a group of ultraconservative Republicans, to handcuff the speaker, and ultimately led to the resignation of Speaker John A. Boehner in 2015.

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Sixteen Democrats have signed a letter saying they will not vote for her, and several others who have not signed say they oppose her.

There are also at least four newly elected Democrats who did not sign the letter but campaigned promising not to back Pelosi and have said they will keep that pledge.

House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi listens during a discussion at Center for American Progress Action Fund in Washington, D.C., July 16, 2018.

The votes against Pelosi might not mean much, though. The members who oppose Pelosi as speaker say she has not done enough to help groom younger members for leadership positions, in turn making it almost impossible for them to rise in the ranks.

There were even some Democrats tweeting pictures of their ballot from the closed-door caucus election.

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The next and final step on the path to the speakership is a full vote of the entire House of Representatives in early January.

"Our diversity is our strength, but our unity is our power, and we will use that power again in a unifying way for our country", she said, maintaining that "we're in pretty good shape" for January's speaker vote. Pelosi was running uncontested and enjoys widespread support within the liberal-heavy caucus she's led since 2003. At a debate over the summer, she declared she would not back the California Democrat as speaker. She's the heavy favorite to do so.

Her ideas include setting up more formal mentoring programs for new members and helping with communication plans to make sure these members remain connected to their districts.

The lack of a formidable challenger to Pelosi has dogged her Democratic critics. "The American people sent Democrats to Congress so that we would fight for the values they care about and to act as a check on this administration", Hayes said. "Unfortunately, our concerns were dismissed outright", said Democrat Kathleen Rice of NY.

Moments before the speaker vote, Pelosi failed to satisfy some Democrats demanding a new leader.

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In an interview Monday, Higgins said he, like many lawmakers, recognized that Pelosi's predicament gave him a unique opportunity to maximize his influence by making it clear precisely what he would need to throw his support to her.

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