A handful Democrats vowed Monday to oppose Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s bid to reclaim the position of speaker of the House, putting the California Democrat’s chances of retaking the job in peril.
Sixteen Democrats — 12 incumbent representatives, three incoming House freshmen and one candidate who has not yet won his seat — signed a letter opposing Pelosi’s campaign. They claim the party needs a new direction.
“Our majority came on the backs of candidates who said that they would support new leadership because voters in hard-won districts, and across the country, want to see real change in Washington,” the letter reads. “We promised to change the status quo, and we intend to deliver on that promise. ”
The letter puts a substantial crimp in Pelosi’s plan.
She needs 218 votes among lawmakers present and voting to be elected speaker in January. House Democrats won 233 seats, meaning she can only afford to lose 15 votes.
Ben McAdams of Utah, whose race has not been called, signed the letter as well. He is currently locked in a tight race against incumbent Rep. Mia Love, a two-term Republican.
McAdams declared victory in the race even though he leads by only 739 votes. But even if he were to lose, it might not hamper the anti-Pelosi campaign.
The letter does not include Rep. Conor Lamb of Pennsylvania, Abigail Spanberger of Virginia and Jason Crow of Colorado, all of whom told Politico reporters that they intend to oppose Pelosi on the floor. There are 19 members or members-elect committed to voting against her if all those names are included.
Pelosi’s critics have tossed a monkey wrench in the party’s plan to open fire on President Donald Trump.
But those who support the beleaguered California lawmaker say they are not worried as they still have more than a month to pressure wayward Democrats back into the fold.
Democrats also worry that Pelosi’s leadership could place newly-elected members in red districts in political jeopardy.
Other members of Pelosi’s party are pushing the congresswoman to place climate change and other environmental pet projects high on her agenda.
Nine Democrats have joined New York Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s demands for a special “Green New Deal” House committee that, if formed, would push global warming policies.
The push shows Ocasio-Cortez is gaining influence among her party’s more progressive wing.
Pelosi created the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming in 2007 when she became speaker.
The committee was scrapped when Republicans took over in 2011. She has expressed a desire to revive the moribund committee.
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