House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who proceeded on Wednesday to win her official re-election bid as House Democrats' leader, subsequently tapped by her party to run for the top position of Speaker, which the 80-year old politician has held from 2007–11 and since 2019, is reported to have hinted that the term could be her last, writes Fox News.
When asked if she could “anticipate this coming Congress would be your last as Speaker,” due to proposed term limits for leadership, Pelosi replied:
“When that conversation took place, there was a move to put limits on the leadership and chairs of committees. 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.”
As the reporter queried if this was a “kind of Shermanesque statement", Pelosi added:
"No, it's not. It's a statement that I made. 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.”
The politician added:
“I consider this a gift and I can’t wait to work with Joe Biden. I don’t want to undermine any leverage I have but I made that statement.”
On 18 November the Democratic Party met virtually to select their top leaders for the 117th Congress, with Pelosi, the only woman to ever hold the position, facing no challenger in the nomination for Speaker.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., similarly unchallenged, won reelection as House Republican leader.
The full House of Representatives is set to elect the Speaker when it convenes on 3 January. The winning candidate requires an outright majority of the House - 218 votes out of 435.
Dem’s Election Setback
With all eyes on the tussle for the White House, as incumbent President Donald Trump has not yet conceded defeat in the 2020 election amid multiple claims of electoral fraud, while prominent US media outlets have declared Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden the winner, there remain a handful of races uncalled at this point.
10 incumbent House Democrats have been ousted by Republican challengers in what is perceived as a crushing blow to the morale of the party that had ambitiously been hoping to add seats to its majority, buoyed by forecasts from pollsters.
Currently, the Democrats hold a 15-seat majority, that some predict might shrink to a 222-213 majority, writes the outlet.
In the wake of these projections, which would see the House Democrats wield one of the smallest majorities in decades, some progressives within party ranks are cited as questioning the strategic decisions made throughout their campaign, and laying the blame with a perceived inability to win over minority and young liberal voters.
The moderates are suggested as pointing the finger at “left initiatives”, such as an inclination toward defunding the police, adopting a Green New Deal, and increasing the US social security safety net.
Bitterness over election setbacks is reportedly triggering calls among many Democrats for fresh leadership.
According to The Hill, Pelosi was targeted amid frustration over election results, with one of the Democrats telling the publication:
“It’s time for Democrats to elevate a new generation of leadership in both the House and the Senate… Americans are clearly afraid of ‘socialism,’ want safe streets and neighbourhoods and to vote for people who they believe will help put more money in their pockets.”
One Midwestern Democratic Representative, Elissa Slotkin, earlier claimed she will not support Nancy Pelosi's run for the speakership, in what is seen as further testimony to the tensions within the Democratic Party’s ranks, according to Politico.
“I will not be voting for Nancy Pelosi… I believe we need new leadership. I would love to see more Midwesterners, because if you look across the leadership. […] I respect these people, but it’s New York and California,” Slotkin was reported as saying.
Back in 2018 Nancy Pelosi had suggested putting an end date on her tenure as the top House Democratic leader.
In line with an agreement negotiated with seven Democrats who opposed her speaker bid at the time, Pelosi said she would agree not to serve as speaker beyond another four years.
“This proposal, which was developed by Members who care about the institution of the House of Representatives, would provide that Members in senior leadership positions can serve 3 terms with an additional term with two-thirds support of the Caucus. It would include the two terms of the Democratic Majority from 2007 to 2011,” Pelosi said in a statement in December 2018.