A House Democrat who was among 16 others to sign a letter opposing Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi for speaker of the House changed his mind Wednesday and will now support Pelosi for the position.
New York Rep. Brian Higgins told The Buffalo News on Wednesday that he made an agreement with Pelosi on two of his key legislative issues: infrastructure and health care. In return, Pelosi can count on his vote.
“I have an agreement in principle with the Democratic leader that those are going to be two priorities, and that I will be the lead person on the Medicare buy-in,” Higgins said in the interview.
Higgins’ reversal comes only a few months after he referred to Pelosi as “aloof, frenetic and misguided” and called for her replacement.
“Some will ask why I have changed my position,” the representative said in a statement. “The answer is simple: I took a principled stand on issues of vital importance not only to my constituents in Western New York but also to more than 300 million Americans whose lives can be improved by progress in these areas.”
“A principled stand, however, often requires a pragmatic outlook in order to meet with success,” Higgins added.
Pelosi welcomed Higgins’ offer and appeared to support both his causes.
“For years, Congressman Higgins has been an extraordinary leader on the issue of achieving quality, affordable health care for all Americans,” Pelosi said in a statement according to The Buffalo News.
“His Medicare buy-in proposal is central to this debate, as we work to build on the Affordable Care Act.”
Pelosi continued to thank the congressman for his support and hinted at his infrastructure plans.
“We (are) looking forward to working together to lower the cost of health care for hard-working families and raise their paychecks by building infrastructure of America, which is also an important issue to Congressman Higgins,” Pelosi said.
“I am honored by his support.”
Principled stands require pragmatic outlooks to achieve success. I remain committed to new ideas in the 116th Congress, but I will vote for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker. https://t.co/epsnnG1olb
— Brian Higgins (@RepBrianHiggins) November 21, 2018
With Higgins’ reversal, the opposition letter may only count for the remaining 15 House Democrats.
Pelosi would need a majority of the House, 218, to vote for her come January to be elected to the speakership if all 435 members of the House vote. Given that House Democrats currently hold 234 seats, Pelosi can only afford to lose 16 votes providing that no representatives skip the vote or vote “present.”
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