More Democrats threaten to withhold support for Pelosi’s House Speaker role
WASHINGTON – A group of nine Democrats threatened Friday to withhold support for Nancy Pelosi’s House Speaker bid, creating a potential roadblock for the California Democrat who has been lobbying for weeks to get her old role back.
Pelosi was already fighting for support from a group of 16 Democrats who penned a letter, declaring they wouldn’t support the minority speaker and instead called for new leadership.
The new group of nine Democrats from the Problem Solvers Caucus threatened to withhold support for Pelosi until she agrees to a list of demands that includes House rule changes that could potentially allow for more bipartisan legislation to pass.
The group, in a statement, said it would “only vote for a Speaker candidate who supports ‘Break the Gridlock’ rules changes.”
The group met with Pelosi last week after sending her a letter about calls to change House rules that would allow all members to push bills in the House, which currently is only done by the leadership, according to CNN.
“While we appreciate Leader Pelosi’s broad commitment to our effort, we have yet to receive specific commitments to our proposed rules changes that would help ‘Break the Gridlock’ and allow for true bipartisan governing in this new era of divided government,” a statement from the group reads. “Without specific changes, we will face more of the same — small pockets of extreme ideologues will continue to block the will of the commonsense majority.”
While Pelosi is widely expected to win the House Speaker nomination next week in her caucus, she faces a tougher battle when the full House votes on her nomination in January. She will need a majority, 218 votes, to win the position.
The caucus’ threat to withhold nine votes along with the 16 members who signed a letter last week could be a potential roadblock for Pelosi. Democrats will hold at least 234 seats in the House when new members are sworn in, meaning she can only afford to lose 16 votes.
Pelosi still has weeks to lobby those on the fence before the final January vote.
Already some of those who voiced opposition have caved and now are supporting Pelosi for the role. Rep. Brian Higgins, D-N.Y., who was one of 16 to sign the opposition letter last week, reversed his position after Pelosi said she was open to Medicare for people over 50 and an infrastructure bill, something many Democrats have said would likely receive bipartisan support.
The Problem Solvers Caucus has pushed for ‘Break the Gridlock’ rule changes, which Politico notes include proposals that would allow individual House members to propose bipartisan bills, which over the years have been overlooked.
The caucus said in its statement that this month’s midterms showed that “the American people have had enough of obstructionism and pure partisanship” and instead want Congress to govern and pass meaningful legislation.
“Although we are at a stalemate in our discussions, and therefore cannot support Leader Pelosi for Speaker at this time, we will keep working with the Leader and others in hope of reaching consensus on specific rules changes for more bipartisan, common sense governing,” the group said.