Nancy Pelosi, the first woman to lead the U.S. House, announced her resignation Thursday.
“I won’t seek reelection to Democratic leadership in the next Congress. For me, a new generation must lead the Democratic caucus I respect “House Speaker Pelosi remarked. “I’m thankful so many are willing to carry this duty.”
Pelosi says she’ll continue to represent San Francisco.
Pelosi cautioned that democracy is “majestic, but fragile” and said 2022 people sent a message to Congress that they wouldn’t condone violence or uprising. She praised the chamber’s diversity during her 35-year career. In 1987, 12 women were in the Democratic Caucus; currently there are 90. Applauding, she replied, “We want more.”
Her announcement comes a day after Republicans captured the House in the 2022 elections and three weeks after the terrible assault on her husband, Paul.
The “red tsunami” never materialised on Election Day, giving the GOP a razor-thin majority. In gubernatorial, Senate, and House races, Democrats outperformed historical forecasts.
Her decision is consistent with a commitment she made four years ago to self-limit if Democrats recaptured the majority in 2018 and she became the first speaker since Sam Rayburn to claim the job twice. Democrats want to replace Pelosi, 82, and Steny Hoyer, D-Md., and Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., both in their 80s, with younger leaders.
Following Pelosi’s statement, Hoyer stated he won’t run for leadership in the next Congress.
“It’s time for a new generation of leaders,” Hoyer added, endorsing Hakeem Jefferies.
Pelosi’s decision is likely to spark a rush of leadership bid announcements.
New York’s Jeffries, Massachusetts’ Katherine Clark, and California’s Pete Aguilar lead the list. All three have lower-level leadership positions and want to advance. Jeffries, 52, Clark, 59, and Aguilar, 43, would be the party’s new faces. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) is also considering a campaign. Ami Bera and Tony Cárdenas have declared campaigns to lead the DCCC in 2024.
Pelosi is hard to replace.
Even Pelosi’s foes admire her for leading her divided caucus through difficult times. With a 5-seat majority, the speaker helped pass President Biden’s legislative achievements, including a pandemic relief bill, a bipartisan infrastructure plan, and a measure decreasing prescription medication costs and investing in climate initiatives.
When she first took the gavel in the House chamber in 2007, she was surrounded by children, including her grandkids. Throughout her term, she has focused on enacting progressive health care, child care, and climate change policies “for the children.” She was minority leader after Republicans won control of the House in 2010 and was elected speaker again in 2019. Drew Hammill, Pelosi’s veteran spokeswoman, has said she’s “not on a shift, but on a mission”