Today marks the day Nancy Pelosi steps down from Democratic leadership. This comes after a razor-thin victory by the Republicans in the mid-term elections, who now have control of the US House.
She said on the House floor, “With great confidence in our caucus, I will not seek reelection to Democratic leadership in the next Congress.” “For me, the time has come for a new generation to lead the Democratic caucus that I hold in such high regard, and I’m pleased that so many are prepared to assume this enormous duty.”
Pelosi, who wore a winter-white pantsuit as a nod to the suffragette movement and other pivotal moments in her own political career, announced her retirement from leadership during a 15-minute speech just after the House met at noon with the chamber filled with Democratic members and a few Republicans. She has led the Democrats for 19 years when they have been in both the minority and the majority.
House Democratic Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland, who has worked with Pelosi for years, stated he will resign leadership but continue in Congress, returning to the Appropriations Committee, which oversees nearly $1.5 trillion annually in discretionary federal spending.
Hoyer said that he will support Hakeem Jeffries, the Democratic Caucus chairman from New York, for the position of Democratic leader. Jeffries, who is 52 years old, would symbolize a new generation assuming authority.
Nancy Pelosi Steps Down
Pelosi said in her address that regardless of the various titles she has had over the years, including speaker, leader, and whip, “there is no higher formal honor for me than to stand on this floor and speak for the people of San Francisco.”
Pelosi stated, “I will continue to speak for the people of San Francisco, serve the great state of California, and defend our Constitution as a member of the House.”
While Pelosi was in Washington, D.C., a burglar got into the house she shares with her husband in San Francisco and assaulted her husband with a hammer. During the event, the suspect, who is facing state and federal criminal charges, said that he was seeking for Pelosi, similar to the insurrectionists who attacked the U.S. Capitol on January 6.
Pelosi expressed gratitude for the outpouring of support after the assault on her husband, stating that he “has been my loving life partner and my support pillar.”
“We appreciate everyone’s prayers and best wishes as he continues to improve. She said “thank you very much” before receiving a wave of applause.
Pelosi’s decision to stand down from leadership follows an unexpectedly strong victory by the Democrats in the midterm elections. And while the party did lose control of the House, Republicans have so far secured the bare minimum 218 seats needed to maintain the majority, compared to 211 for Democrats and six races that The Associated Press has not yet called.
Pelosi said that the election demonstrates that Americans have rejected appeals for violence and dangers to democracy.
“The American people stood up last week in favor of freedom, the rule of law, and democracy itself,” she said. “With these elections, the people stepped up and repulsed the attack on democracy. They vehemently denounced violence and uprising.”
President Joe Biden issued a statement declaring that Nancy Pelosi is “the most influential Speaker of the House in our nation’s history.”
Biden wrote, “During the first two years of my presidency, she has been a singular force in securing once-in-a-generation laws that will define our nation for decades.” “The lives of countless millions of Americans are better because of Nancy Pelosi, even in districts represented by Republicans who voted against her bills and frequently malign her.”
Big Changes to Come
Pelosi’s departure from the Democratic leadership position in the House aligns with a pledge she made to her caucus years ago that this would be her final Congress as the leader.
Pelosi’s number two, Hoyer, backed New York’s Jeffries for the position of Democratic leader.
He stated in a “Dear Colleague” letter, “He is a competent and experienced leader who will help us win back the Majority in 2024 as we try to continue delivering on our commitments to the American people.”
Hoyer said, “I look forward to acting as a resource for him, the rest of our Democratic leadership team, and our whole caucus as we work together to solve the nation’s concerns.”
South Carolina’s House Democratic Whip Jim Clyburn said in a statement that he is looking forward to doing anything he can “to support our future generation of Democratic Leaders, who I hope include Hakeem Jeffries, Katherine Clark, and Pete Aguilar.” Clark, from Massachusetts, is now the assistant speaker, while Aguilar, from California, is the vice chairman of the Democratic caucus.
As a result of the Democrats’ loss of the House majority, the minority leader and minority whip positions will become the most important for Democratic leaders, followed by an assistant speaker, chair of the Democratic Caucus, and vice chair of the Democratic Caucus.
The leadership elections for the House Democrats are slated on November 30, a few days following the return of members from the Thanksgiving holiday recess.