Pelosi Reaches Deal With Dem Critics, Likely to Become House Speaker

Nancy Pelosi / Getty Images
December 12, 2018

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) reached an agreement with Democratic rebels opposing her candidacy for House speaker, thereby almost ensuring she returns to the position she held from 2007 to 2011.

Pelosi will limit her time as speaker to a maximum of four years in return for support from enough Democratic critics in a January House floor vote, Politico reports. Her deputies, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D., Md.) and Assistant Democratic Leader Jim Clyburn (D., S.C.), will also be limited in how long they can remain in their posts.

"Over the summer, I made it clear that I see myself as a bridge to the next generation of leaders, a recognition of my continuing responsibility to mentor and advance new Members into positions of power and responsibility in the House Democratic Caucus," Pelosi said as she announced the agreement.

The agreement stipulates the top three House Democrats will be allowed to keep their posts for three terms, with the option of a fourth term if they win two-thirds support from the Democratic caucus. The term limits are retroactive, including Pelosi, Hoyer, and Clyburn's time leading the House Democrats from 2007 to 2011, meaning at most they could serve until 2022.

Pelosi met with Reps. Ed Perlmutter (D., Colo.), Linda Sanchez (D., Calif.), and Bill Foster (D., Ill.) earlier this week to work out the agreement. The deal was presented to the rest of Pelosi's critics Wednesday morning and was announced in the afternoon.

In addition to Perlmutter, Sanchez, and Foster, Rep. Filemon Vela (D., Texas), Rep. Tim Ryan (D., Ohio), Rep. Seth Moulton (D., Mass.), and Rep.-elect Gil Cisneros (D., Calif.) will support Pelosi in the floor vote.

Pelosi also agreed to not retaliate against her critics. Given the power of the speakership, Pelosi's opponents reportedly pushed her to promise to treat them fairly.

Although Pelosi agreed to stick to the term limits outlined in the agreement, Hoyer, who will be majority leader, said Pelosi "doesn't negotiate for me."

Clyburn said he stands "squarely with the Congressional Black Caucus’ position … the caucus is adamantly opposed to term limits and seniority modifications."