Published: Thu, November 29, 2018
World Media | By Cesar Oliver

Hakeem Jeffries narrowly wins vote to be Democratic caucus chair

Hakeem Jeffries narrowly wins vote to be Democratic caucus chair

Nancy Pelosi is poised to win the nomination of her caucus for Speaker of the House, but Wednesday's leadership elections are a precursor to the real drama coming on the first day of the new Congress.

A group of House Democrats - dismayed by partisan gridlock - is trying to force changes to the way the House works by leaning into a potential leadership fight, threatening to withhold support for Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to be speaker unless she backs an overhaul of the chamber's rules. No other Democrat is challenging her for the speakership post, but they were allowed to vote against her in the caucus balloting. Are there dissenters? Yes. If too many vote against Pelosi before the full House, Republicans could grab control of the speaker's gavel. Marcia Fudge, an Ohio Democrat, briefly considered throwing her hat in the ring, but last week she said she won't run for speaker and will support Pelosi.

Still, the big question is whether or not Pelosi can get to 218 votes in January.

A small group of Democrats had been intent on derailing Pelosi's bid for speaker.

A little over a year ago a resolution was introduced to the central committee of the San Francisco Democratic Party titled "Resolution Urging Senator Feinstein and Leader Pelosi to Support Medicare for All".

"Nancy Pelosi is a proven leader who has delivered time and again on core Democratic values".

The California Democrat now faces a final floor vote with the entire House of Representatives on January 3, when she'll have to scrounge for additional support.

Jahana Hayes, a Democrat who was elected to a seat in CT, expressed frustration that Pelosi's opponents haven't offered an alternative candidate. It is possible that she could get the job with fewer votes if some members of Congress chose not to vote.

When a bill receives 290 cosponsors (or three-fifths of Congress), it will go to the House floor for debate and a timely vote.

The Problem Solvers are made up of mostly moderate Democrats and Republicans who seek to change the ways in which the speaker can and can't bring legislation to the floor while also fostering collaboration between both parties in Congress.

"The candidates who said that they will vote for new leadership are going to uphold that promise", Moulton said in an interview with the Boston Globe days after the midterm elections earlier in November.

"We have reached such an agreement with Leader Pelosi to help break the gridlock for the American people and will support her, so these rules and reforms can be adopted in January", the caucus said in a statement Wednesday.

'She's making a lot of headway, ' said Rep. Joyce Beatty of OH, an ally. Moulton said the meeting was at Pelosi's invitation, but an aide familiar with the events said Moulton requested it to discuss the possibility of a transition plan, only to be, in Rice's words, "dismissed outright".

In a statement released when Pelosi received the caucus's backing, Moulton said he, along with fellow Pelosi critics Rep. Kathleen Rice, of NY, and Rep. Tim Ryan, of OH, were invited by Pelosi to meet with her.

Pelosi and her supporters think that winning back the House - and the fact that she has no clear successor - should be enough to pave her path back to the speaker's office.

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