Pelosi steps aside as House Democratic chief, clearing the way for “new generation”

Washington — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who made historical past as the first lady to serve in the function, won’t search one other time period as Democratic chief, she stated Thursday, bringing an finish to twenty years as head of the Democratic caucus as the celebration prepares to relinquish its majority to the Republicans.

Pelosi will proceed serving in the House after profitable a nineteenth time period in final week’s midterm elections, assuming a lower-profile function when the subsequent Congress convenes in January. 

Pelosi publicizes she is stepping aside as House Democratic chief


“Now we must move boldly into the future, grounded by the principles that have propelled us this far and open to fresh possibilities for the future,” Pelosi stated. “With great confidence in our caucus, I will not seek reelection to Democratic leadership in the next Congress. For me, the hour has come for a new generation to lead the Democratic caucus.”

Pelosi started her speech by tracing her path “from homemaker to House speaker,” from seeing the U.S. Capitol for the first time as a 6-year-old to working alongside presidents from each events. Calling the Capitol a “temple of our democracy, of our Constitution, of our highest ideals,” she paid homage to the Americans who served earlier than her and extolled the historic legislative acts of the House, together with the abolition of slavery and increasing to girls the proper to vote.

“A new day is dawning on the horizon, and I look forward, always forward, to the unfolding story of our nation,” she stated. “A story of light and love, of patriotism and progress, of many becoming one, and always an unfinished mission to make the dreams of today the reality of tomorrow.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi acknowledges applause from lawmakers after talking on the House flooring at the Capitol on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022.

Carolyn Kaster / AP

Pelosi concluded her remarks to raucous applause from her Democratic colleagues, who embraced her as she departed the lectern. President Biden spoke with Pelosi on Thursday morning and congratulated her on her tenure, the White House stated.

“When I think of Nancy Pelosi, I think of dignity,” the president stated in a press release. “History will note she is the most consequential speaker of the House of Representatives in our history. There are countless examples of how she embodies the obligation of elected officials to uphold their oath to God and country to ensure our democracy delivers and remains a beacon to the world. In everything she does, she reflects a dignity in her actions and a dignity she sees in the lives of the people of this nation.”

The choice by Pelosi to clear the way for a brand new technology of lawmakers to run the caucus places an finish to months of hypothesis about her political future. It additionally follows the violent assault on her husband Paul Pelosi at their San Francisco residence final month, which the speaker told CNN would affect whether or not she would step aside. Pelosi herself was the goal of the suspected assailant, however was in Washington at the time.

Joining Pelosi in stepping aside from Democratic management is Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the present majority chief and Pelosi’s longtime No. 2. Hoyer instructed his colleagues in a letter he would stay in Congress however forego a management position. His choice clears the way for Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York, the chair of the Democratic Caucus, to ascend to celebration chief when Democratic members vote in management elections at the finish of the month. Hoyer endorsed Jeffries to succeed Pelosi as Democratic chief, calling him a “skilled and capable leader.”

Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, the No. 3 Democrat in the House, praised Pelosi as a frontrunner who left an “indelible mark” on Congress and the nation. He, too, provided his help in aiding a brand new technology of Democratic leaders, naming Jeffries, Rep. Katherine Clark of Massachusetts and Rep. Pete Aguilar of California.

“As a historic leader, she has met the challenges of guiding this body through the best and worst of times,” Clyburn stated of Pelosi. “Her steady hand, principled policies, and unmatched ability to build consensus among the most diverse caucus the country has ever known are hallmarks of her storied career.”

Pelosi, carrying a white swimsuit, the shade typically worn by suffragists, opened the House session forward of her speech and was met with applause as she entered the House chamber. Dozens of Pelosi’s Democratic colleagues gathered for her remarks, as nicely as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Republican Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina, provided a nod to Pelosi as he concluded temporary feedback on the House flooring earlier than her speech, saying, “Godspeed, Speaker Nancy Pelosi.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks on the House flooring at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022.

Carolyn Kaster / AP

It was unclear heading into Thursday what choice Pelosi had made, and her selection had been the supply of hypothesis in Washington for months. She took two variations of her speech residence along with her to assessment Wednesday night time, a supply aware of the matter stated, a sign that she was nonetheless grappling with the selection.

Since her election to Congress in 1987, Pelosi rose via the ranks of House Democratic management, serving as minority whip — her election to that position made Pelosi the highest-ranking lady in congressional historical past — after which House Democratic chief, a task she has held since 2003.

In 2007, she made historical past as the first lady to be elected speaker of the House when Democrats took the majority. She served 4 nonconsecutive phrases as speaker since then, uniting an typically fractious Democratic caucus to move a few of the most consequential laws in current historical past underneath the Obama and Biden administrations.

Mr. Biden paid tribute to Pelosi’s report of ushering Democratic priorities via the House, characterizing her as a power in securing the help wanted to ship on her celebration’s legislative agenda.

“With her leading the way, you never worry about whether a bill will pass,” the president stated. “If she says she has the votes, she has the votes. Every time.”

For Republicans, her unabashed pursuit of liberal priorities made her a handy foil on the marketing campaign path, and GOP candidates have made her a fixture of assault adverts for years. She was certainly one of former President Donald Trump’s fiercest opponents, overseeing each House impeachment proceedings in opposition to him. Their fractured relationship was memorably on show after Trump’s State of the Union handle in 2020, after which Pelosi tore up a duplicate of his remarks.

And on Thursday, as she highlighted the legislative achievements of Bush, Obama and Mr. Biden, there was no point out of the forty fifth president.

In her remarks, Pelosi mirrored on the altering demographics of the House membership over her greater than three many years in Congress, highlighting the rise in girls serving however noting that “we want more.”

“I have seen this body grow more reflective of our great nation, our beautiful nation,” she stated. 

While Pelosi said in 2018 that she would restrict her time period as Democratic chief to 4 years, a pledge that appeased sufficient members of her celebration to safe the speaker’s gavel as soon as extra, she has been pushed to rethink after the “red wave” anticipated for Republicans didn’t occur.

The speaker instructed CNN on Sunday that her Democratic colleagues had requested her to “consider” working in the caucus’ management elections, set to start at the finish of the month, however she stated any choice on whether or not to take action will likely be “rooted in the wishes of my family and the wishes of my caucus.”

Mr. Biden additionally requested Pelosi to remain in office, telling the California Democrat after she gained her personal reelection bid that “I hope you stick,” according to Politico.

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