Veteran House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) received the support of a majority of her Democratic colleagues to inch closer to reclaiming her former role as speaker of the United States House of Representatives on Wednesday afternoon, November 28.
ABC News reports that Pelosi won the Party’s blessing to move on to an upcoming vote on the House floor, in spite of more than a dozen members expressing their opposition to another Pelosi-led Congress. No less than 16 mostly up-and-coming representatives have posed dissent to the idea of reinstalling leadership that is as deeply entrenched in the Washington establishment as Pelosi is. According to The Hill, the fear that protest votes might fuel talk of division among the ranks had become so real over the past several weeks that officials moved to issue paper ballots providing a “yes” and “no” option, so as to minimize the visibility of discord.
Representatives John Lewis (D-Ga.) and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), and elected Reps Angie Craig (Minn.) and Veronica Escobar (Texas) joined Rep. Joseph Kennedy (D-Mass.) in presenting a bloc of solidarity behind Pelosi as she came before the press to announce that she had indeed advanced in the uncontested caucus race. During her address, Pelosi expressed nothing but gratitude for the outcome, with NPR quoting her as saying it was “inspiring to hear my colleagues place my name in nomination once again for Speaker of the House.”
Democrats nominate Rep. Nancy Pelosi for speaker, a show of strength that will be tested when the full House votes in January https://t.co/fi8slUFMCk
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) November 28, 2018
Unlike Wednesday’s juncture, the January 3 round of voting that is set to officially determine Pelosi’s fate will not be held via private ballot in the Visitors Center of the Capitol. And with the 78-year-old incumbent minority leader needing 218 representatives to affirm her ascension, all eyes will be on potential defectors, who may have been turned off by Pelosi’s unwillingness to lend them her ears on their yearning for a new direction.
“Moments ago we met with Leader Pelosi and tried to engage her in a reasonable conversation about leadership transition. Unfortunately, our concerns were dismissed outright. We remain united behind our goal of new leadership,” the Washington Post quotes Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y) as stating in regard to the upcoming vote.
With the Party looking to hold onto at least 234 seats in the next Congress, Pelosi’s nomination would be in jeopardy if 17 or more Democrats turn her down. Pelosi is said to have salvaged as many as nine wavering votes from colleagues who had threatened to withhold their support if she didn’t promise to institute changes that many find to have held rank-and-file lawmakers from thriving. She is reported to have agreed to their request by striking a deal with the Problem Solvers Caucus just prior to Wednesday’s vote.