Washington: Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday that her next term as Speaker will be her last, making good on a promise she’d made in 2018 to relinquish power after the next midterm elections.
“I don’t want to undermine any leverage I may have,” she told reporters in the Capitol, “but I made the statement.”
The comments came shortly after House Democrats had voted privately to nominate Pelosi (D-Calif.) to serve another two years at the top of a party she’s led since 2003, marking the longest stretch since the legendary Rep. Sam Rayburn (Texas) died in office in 1961.
Faced with an internal revolt in 2018 from progressives pushing for a leadership overhaul, Pelosi had won the support of her detractors in part by vowing to keep the gavel no more than two additional terms. A resolution formally adopting those conditions was abandoned last year without a caucus vote, but Pelosi said she stands by those nonetheless.
House Democrats are choosing their leadership team this week on the heels of a dispiriting election cycle when they’d expected significant gains to pad their majority in the 117th Congress. Instead, they lost at least 10 incumbent seats, failed to pick off any Republicans seeking reelection and now face their slimmest majority since World War II.
Even so, Pelosi’s nomination on Wednesday was never in doubt. She ran unopposed, she has raised historic amounts of money for the party and her fiery confrontations with President Trump over the last four years have won the praise of even her sharpest Democratic critics.
To secure the gavel, Pelosi, 80, will still need to secure a majority of the full House in January.