In order to drain the last ounce of opposition against her speakership, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco), has offered to term limit herself in an exchange for job security.
Promising that her likely selection as Speaker of the House wouldn’t last more than two, or at the most 4 years, it appears Pelosi has effectively ensured she will gather all the votes needed to take control of the House gavel come January.
According to the LA Times, “under the deal, term limits will be imposed for top House Democratic leaders, including Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland and Majority Whip James E. Clyburn of South Carolina. Leaders would be allowed to serve up to three two-year terms and a fourth only if they received support from a supermajority of their caucus.”
Previously serving as Speaker once before from 2007 to 2011, Pelosi could have an opportunity to lead her party through the 2020 election and then some, if the caucus remains in support.
Furthermore, the tentative term limits will go further than plain word of mouth. Currently, Democrats are slated to have a closed door vote in late February where they will decide if strict term limits for the party’s leaders will in fact serve as a beneficiary to their platform.
Pelosi has already harnessed the support of many original party rebels who signed a letter denouncing her candidacy, however, her new proposal is gaining significant traction.
It’s a smart play by Pelosi, the 78 year old veteran will most likely be vacating her seat in four years and she could be looking to go out on a pedestal. Despite this, it isn’t clear how this will affect future ideology and rank within the party. While this will certainly be a dramatic change for a party that is used to reelecting members based on their standing consensus, no party has ever put term limits on their own elected leaders.
Committee positions are one thing, however newly elected and younger members looking to claim rank must surely be taking a likening to Pelosi’s proposition.
In an effort to recast herself as the “bridge” between older-hand leadership and a new generation, Pelosi is successfully silencing the critics such as Kathleen Rice of New York who was an avid anti-Pelosi dissident calling for new leadership.
Securing 203 votes during a Democratic held closed-door vote last month, Pelosi will need to persuade 15 of the 32 members that voted against her that she is indeed the best choice. If she does not obtain 218 votes, House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield), could have a shot.
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