Nancy Pelosi Makes Deal With House Defectors to Save Her Speakership

This image was removed due to legal reasons.

When she isn’t getting into shouting matches with the president, long-time Congresswoman Rep. Nancy Pelosi has apparently been deep in negotiations with her fellow representatives over the future of the Democratic Party. After weeks of back and forth, it seems Pelosi will have the votes to resume her role as Speaker of the House when Democrats take power next year. According to the Washington Post, Pelosi has promised to step down as party leader by 2022 in order to pacify critics and get the needed votes.


From the Post:

“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 in a statement.

Under the accord, Pelosi, 78, will support a three-term limit for the top three House Democratic leaders, with a possible fourth term if Democratic members vote by a two-thirds majority to retain them. [...]

“I am comfortable with the proposal and it is my intention to abide by it whether it passes or not,” Pelosi said.

This accommodation was enough to win the backing of six House holdouts, which should be enough to put Pelosi’s support over to top. The vote for Speaker will take place on January 3rd, and Pelosi will need 218 votes, as long as “all members are present and voting for an individual,” according to the Post. With the numbers as they are, that would leave 16 Democrats opposing Pelosi. It will still be a tight squeeze—if just one more Democrat opposed her, Pelosi could be out.

The new term limits, which Democrats will vote on next year, are controversial among other established politicians. They would work retroactively, meaning that incoming House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer and incoming House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn, who served in those roles during the last Democratic House majority, would be limited to one or two terms.

Hoyer has indicated that he opposes the term limits.

“I am not for term limits. I am for the intellect of the voter, whether it’s my constituency or my colleague being able to operate without such constraint and choose who they want when they want,” Hoyer told reporters earlier this week.


“I am comfortable with the [term limit] proposal and it is my intention to abide by it whether it passes or not,” Pelosi said in her statement.

The proposed term limits wouldn’t impact committee chairs, a stipulation which has rankled many Democrats.


If Pelosi does secure another term as Speaker, she will be the first to regain speakership after time away from the position since 1955, when Texas Democrat Sam Rayburn was reinstated. No other Speaker has spent four full years out of power before resuming leadership.