House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Thursday, November 17, 2022, that she is stepping down from her role as House Speaker. She will not seek a leadership position in the new Congress, ending a historic run as the first woman House Speaker.
In a lively speech on the House floor, Pelosi declared that she will step aside after leading Democrats for almost two decades after having done “the people’s work.”
The California Democrat, Pelosi will serve as speaker until January when a new Congress convenes. However, she will remain in Congress as the representative from San Francisco, a position she has held for 35 years.
“I will not seek re-election to Democratic leadership in the next Congress. For me, the hour has come for a new generation to lead the Democratic caucus that I so deeply respect. We must move boldly into the future.”Nancy Pelosi
Pelosi was greeted with cheers as she arrived for the hastily organized address. She received a standing ovation when she closed, lawmakers and guests one by one crowding her with hugs.
President Joe Biden, who had encouraged Pelosi to remain as Democratic leader, congratulated Pelosi on her historic tenure as speaker of the House.
“History will note she is the most consequential Speaker of the House of Representatives in our history,” Biden remarked in a statement, noting her ability to win unity from her caucus and her “absolute dignity.” It’s an uncommon choice for a party leader to stay on after withdrawing from congressional leadership, but not without precedent and Pelosi has long defied convention in pursuing power in Washington.
In an interview after her announcement, Pelosi intimated that she won’t endorse anyone in the race to succeed her and she won’t sit on any committees as a rank-and-file lawmaker. She said the attack on her husband made her “think again about staying.” At last, after the election, she decided to step down. “I quite frankly, personally, have been ready to leave for a while,” she said. “Because there are things I want to do. I like to dance, I like to sing. There’s a life out there, right?” she added.
Pelosi was twice elected to the speakership and has led Democrats through consequential moments, including passage of the Affordable Care Act with President Barack Obama and the impeachments of President Donald Trump.
Her decision on Thursday paves the way for House Democratic leadership elections next month when Democrats reorganize as the minority party for the new Congress.
Democrats Ready To Select Hakeem Jeffries As Nancy Pelosi’s Successor
House Democrats appear likely to choose New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries to succeed Speaker Nancy Pelosi. This is a potentially historic move to elect the first Black person to lead a party in Congress.
After Pelosi announced on Thursday, November 17, 2022, that she would relinquish the leadership role she has held for 20 years, the speaker wouldn’t say who she’d support to replace her in the November 30 vote.
In an attestation to Jeffries’ emerging power, House Majority Leader, Steny Hoyer and House Majority Whip, Jim Clyburn, quickly endorsed him after announcing they would also stand down from their leadership posts.
“Speaker Pelosi has left an indelible mark on Congress and the country, and I look forward to her continued service and doing whatever I can to assist our new generation of Democratic leaders, which I hope to be Hakeem Jeffries, Katherine Clark, and Peter Aguilar. Jeffries will make history for the institution of the House and for our country.”Jim Cyburn
Commenting on when he would formally announce his bid for leader, Jeffries stated, “Let’s spend the day at this moment continuing to process the historic nature of Speaker Pelosi and the opportunity that we’ve all had to serve with her.” “It’s been an amazing experience. This is a moment right now to continue to celebrate Speaker Pelosi,” he added.
Before Pelosi’s announcement, Ohio Representative, Joyce Beatty, the Congressional Black Caucus chairwoman, disclosed that she expected the caucus to throw their support behind Jeffries.
“If she steps aside, I’m very clear that Hakeem Jeffries is the person that I will be voting for and leading the Congressional Black Caucus to vote for. I don’t always speak for everybody, but I’m very comfortable saying I believe that every member of the Congressional Black Caucus would vote for Hakeem Jeffries.”Joyce Beatty
Whoever succeeds Nancy Pelosi will serve in the shadow of her legacy as one of the most powerful figures in American politics.
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