In recognition of Nancy Pelosi’s 20 years as head of the conference, House Democrats have given her a new title and proposed a resolution to rename a famous caucus chamber in her honor.
House Democrats are getting ready to usher in a new generation of leadership, most likely led by Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, as Pelosi prepares to stand aside from her leadership position as the new Congress is inaugurated in January (D-NY). However, the party is indicating that Pelosi will hold a respected position inside the House conference even as she continues to serve as a rank-and-file member of the lower chamber.
A resolution to rename the historic caucus chamber in the House Cannon Building as the “Speaker Nancy Pelosi Caucus Room” was introduced on Tuesday by House Administration Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA). Such bills might become law before the new year, when Republicans will assume control of the House and Pelosi will stand down as speaker. This is because they only need a simple majority in the House to pass.
The caucus chamber has special significance to House Democrats because it was there that the committee looking into the Capitol disturbance on January 6 submitted its findings. A “little tribute to a towering person” who “has been a solitary force for good over her 35 years in the House of Representatives,” according to Lofgren, the name was done.
Not every member of the House Administration Committee, though, loved the idea.
Rep. Bryan Steil (R-WI), one of two Republicans on the committee, said in a statement to the Washington Examiner that “Congressman Steil is focused on reopening the People’s House that Speaker Pelosi has held closed for far too long.”
According to a statement from Lofgren, “She has dedicated her life to the dignity of the American people, to the defense of our Democracy, and always primarily — to the children and posterity of our Nation.”
In the meanwhile, Pelosi was unanimously elected “Speaker Emerita” by members of the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee on Wednesday. Committee co-chair Rep. Eric Swalwell referred to Pelosi as “the most consequential legislator Congress has ever known.”
He continued, “We are fortunate she will stay in our ranks.
The accolades come as House Democrats prepare to elect a new party leader on Wednesday, with Jeffries widely poised to succeed Nancy Pelosi. If this happens, Jeffries will become the first black politician to hold the position of party leader in either chamber of Congress.
Midway through November, Pelosi made the announcement that she will step down as House speaker while continuing to represent California’s 12th Congressional District.
Democrats praised Pelosi for her long career in response to the news, but Republicans said they were eager to move on from her.
Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), the third-ranking House Republican, declared that “House Republicans earned our Majority” and that “Nancy Pelosi will no longer hold the Speaker’s gavel.”
During her 20 years as party leader, Pelosi had established herself as a prominent target for Republicans. Democratic candidates and lawmakers were frequently linked to the House speaker in election attack commercials in an effort to derail their campaigns. Many GOP members were eager to criticize Pelosi after she announced she would stand down as speaker.
Rep. Jeff Duncan tweeted, “Thank you for offering your retirement from House Leadership today, Speaker Pelosi, but I believe the American people fired you first.”
Within minutes of Pelosi’s resignation announcement, her two top lieutenants also made it clear they would stand aside to make room for the next wave of Democratic leadership. After the current Congress’s term ends, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) stated he would leave his No. 2 position, while Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC) said he would continue in leadership but as deputy Democratic leader.
Following the Wednesday leadership vote held behind closed doors, Jeffries, Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark (D-MA), and Democratic Caucus Vice Chairman Pete Aguilar (D-CA) will move up to the top three positions.