Pelosi to step down from House leadership, stay in Congress
Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker, announced Thursday that she will not be seeking a leadership role in the new Congress. This ends a historic run for the title of first woman with the gavel. It also marks the beginning of a new generation to lead the party after Democrats lost control in the midterm elections to Republicans.
Pelosi made a passionate speech on the House’s floor and announced her intention to step down after leading Democrats for almost 20 years, in the aftermath the brutal attack on Paul last month at their San Francisco home, and having done “the people’s work.”
California Democrat, a key figure in U.S. History and possibly the most powerful speaker in recent times, stated that she would continue to be in Congress as the representative for San Francisco. This position she held for 35 years when the new Congress convenes.
She stated that she would not be seeking reelection as Democratic leader in the next Congress. “I believe the time has come for a new generation of leaders to lead the Democratic caucus I deeply respect.
She said that now, “we must be boldly looking into the future.”
Pelosi arrived at the address in white, a nod towards the suffragettes. Pelosi received a standing ovation as she closed. Guests and lawmakers rushed to hug her, while others took selfies of this moment in history.
Joe Biden, President of the Democratic Party, spoke to Pelosi and congratulated her for her historic term as Speaker of the House.
Biden stated that “History will remember she is the most consequential Speaker of Congress in our history” and noted her ability to unite her caucus as well as her “absolute dignity.”
Although it is unusual for a party leader after withdrawing from the congressional leadership, it is not unheard of. Pelosi has always defied conventions in seeking power in Washington.
Pelosi stated that she would not endorse any candidate for her successor and that she wouldn’t be a member of any rank-and-file committees. Pelosi said that the attack on her husband made her reconsider staying.
She decided to resign after the election.
She said, “I have been ready to go for a while, quite honestly.” “Because I have things that I want to do. I love to dance and sing. “There’s a life out here, right?”
Pelosi shared her story on the House floor. She recalled her childhood, starting with seeing the Capitol as a little girl with her father, a New Deal congressman, and mayor, to her time as speaker alongside U.S presidents. Pelosi mentioned three of them, but did not mention Donald Trump.
She said, “Everyday I am in awe at the majestic miracle of American democracy.”
She referred to the “proof through the night” that the flag was still up as she described the Democrats’ better-than-expected performance in the midterms, which was the first national election since the Jan. 6, 2021 attack at the Capitol as “proof that our flag is still there,” drawing cheers among colleagues.
Pelosi was assisted by Jon Meacham, an American historian. However, an aide claimed that Pelosi added the impromptu line of her speech by herself.
Short notice was given to lawmakers who had been wondering about the plans of the long-serving leader. On the Democratic side, Chuck Schumer, the Senate Majority Leader, joined them. Later, he joined a crowd of lawmakers and hugged Pelosi and kissed her cheek.
Pelosi’s guests and staff filled the Speaker’s Gallery. Many Republicans, including some newly elected members attended. However, Kevin McCarthy, the House Republican Leader, didn’t attend and told reporters that he was busy.
Senator Republican Leader Mitch McConnell stated late Thursday that while we have disagreed often and forcefully over many years, “I have witnessed firsthand the depth of her commitment for public service. It is clear that Speaker Pelosi’s influential and path-breaking career will have a lasting impact on the nation.
Pelosi was twice elected speaker and has led Democrats through important moments such as the passage of the Affordable Care Act (with President Barack Obama) and the impeachment of President Donald Trump.
Thursday’s decision by her party opens the door to the next round of House Democratic leadership elections, when Democrats will reorganize themselves as the minority party in the new Congress.
Pelosi’s leadership team includes Majority Leader StenyHoyer of Maryland, and Democratic Whip James Clyburn from South Carolina. They have been moving as a triumvirate for years. The three House Democratic leaders are now in their 80s and have been challenged by restless colleagues who want them to step down and let a new generation take over.
After Pelosi’s comments, Hoyer stated that “it was the time for new leaders”. He also said that he would step down as leader but will remain in Congress. Clyburn, who is the highest ranking Black American in Congress has stated that he plans to stay in Congress next fiscal year and hopes to continue at the top of the leadership table.
Democratic Reps. Hakeem Jeffrey of New York, Katherine Clark from Massachusetts, and Pete Aguilar from California, have all moved in a similar fashion, working together to become the next generation leaders. Jeffries, if Democrats regain control of the House, could make history and become the first Black Speaker of the House.
Pelosi was one of 12 Democratic women elected to Congress in 1987. Pelosi was ridiculed long ago by Republicans for being a San Francisco liberal, but she steadily rose as a skilled legislator as well as a fundraising powerhouse. Her powerful leadership style has been admired by her Democratic colleagues, but they also fear her.
Pelosi was first elected speaker in 2007. She claimed she had broken the “marble wall” after Democrats won power in 2006’s midterm elections. This was in response to George W. Bush’s wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Iraq.
In 2018, she was poised to be a speaker again, during the Trump era. She vowed, “To show the power the gavel.”
Pelosi has shown resilience over the years, and she had suggested that in 2018, she would continue to serve as leader for four years. She had not yet discussed these plans.
Pelosi, who is usually apathetic and calm, showed a rare moment in emotion on the eve the midterm elections. She held back tears as she discussed the brutal assault her husband had suffered over the past 60 years.
Paul Pelosi was left with a broken skull from an intruder who broke into their house in the middle of the night to search for the Democratic leader. As the Capitol rioters hunted for Pelosi, the intruder asked “Where is Nancy?” and tried to stop Congress certifying Joe Biden’s election.