Democrat Brian Higgins Reverses Course, Supports Nancy Pelosi For Speaker As Movement To Unseat Her Crumbles

Nancy Pelosi, serving as Speaker of the House in this photo from 2009.
Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

As the days wear on and Americans get closer to Congressional inauguration day (January 3, 2019), it seems more and more likely that current House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will become the Speaker of the House for the next legislative term.

Rep. Brian Higgins (D-New York) announced on Wednesday that, despite saying several months ago that he would oppose Pelosi to become Speaker, he has changed his mind. This about face comes on the heels of conversations with the California Democrat on issues surrounding healthcare and infrastructure, according to reporting from the Buffalo News.

Higgins specifically wanted to see infrastructure across the nation become a major platform plank, and wanted to take the lead role in a proposal to allow Americans the chance to “buy-in” to Medicare as a healthcare option if they’re over the age of 50.

“I have an agreement in principle with the Democratic leader that those are going to be two priorities, and that I will be the lead person on the Medicare buy-in,” Higgins said.

Higgins’ reversal is a huge blow to an effort to oppose Pelosi as the next Speaker of the House. His name had been one of the 16 included in a letter — made public earlier this week — posted by a group of Democrats urging new leadership in the next Congress. With his change of heart, it seems that Pelosi’s appointment as the next speaker is all but assured at this point.

The letter from those 16 Democrats urged a departure from Pelosi acting as the next Speaker, reportedly due to what voters in their districts — and across the country — had told them, according to reporting from Axios.

“…Democrats ran and won on a message of change. Our majority came on the backs of candidates who said they would support new leadership because voters in hard-won districts, and across the country, want real change in Washington.”

Pelosi previously served as Speaker of the House following the midterm elections of 2006. She served in that role until 2011, when Republicans won majority control of the House following the previous year’s “Tea Party” wave of victories.

But Pelosi — and the Democrats — took back control of the House in this year’s midterm elections, winning a net of at least 39 seats so far, according to reports from NBC News. Although Democrats have won control of the House, Republicans still have a majority in the Senate, making the priorities of both parties unlikely to become law — without major bargaining and compromise, at least.

Still, Democrats see their wins in the House as important, as this will allow them to prevent much of the proposed policies from the administration of President Donald Trump from passing.