Monday, February 6, 2023

Jeffries succeeds Pelosi as House Democratic leader

WASHINGTON ( Associated Press) – House Democrats ushered in a new generation of leaders Wednesday with the election of Hakeem Jeffries as the first African-American to hold the reins of a major political party in Congress. Once-veteran House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her team will be out next year.

In a rare show of party unity after losing seats in the recent midterm elections, the Democratic caucus transitioned from one history-making leader to another, electing a 52-year-old New Yorker who vowed to “get things done” that the Republicans gained control of the chamber. The vote behind closed doors was unanimous and by acclamation.

“We have your broad collective support,” Jeffries said of Pelosi and her team.

Jeffries previously said, “The best thing we can do as a result of the seriousness and gravity of the moment is to bend down hard and do the best we can for the people.”

It is unusual for the losing party to rally so easily in the midterm elections, in stark contrast to the chaos among Republican winners who are having a hard time rallying around Kevin McCarthy as the new House speaker. To take control of the Congress after the new session begins in January.

Jeffries and the other candidates faced no challengers at Wednesday’s Democratic caucuses. There was applause at the closed meeting, where disputed party polls were treated with deadly seriousness, but the spontaneity of his demeanor confirmed Democrats’ confidence, some in the room said.

The trio headed by Jefferies, who will be the leader of the Democratic minority in the new Congress, also has Katherine Clark, 59, a Massachusetts lawmaker, as head of the bench; and Pete Aguilar, 43, from California, who will preside over block meetings. A new team of Democratic leaders is expected to replace Pelosi and her lieutenants, Majority Leaders Steny Hoyer and James Clyburn, as the 80-year-old lawmakers make way for a new generation.

But in many ways, the transition has happened in broad daylight, as one contributor pointed out: Jefferies, Clarke and Aguilar have held second-tier roles in leadership for the past several years, while the first woman has served as a lower-level president. Serves in Was getting ready to leave for home office. Pelosi has led Democratic lawmakers for 20 years, and her colleagues honored her with the honorary title of “Speaker Emeritus” on Tuesday.

“This is an important moment for the bloc, that there is a new generation of leadership,” Rep. Chris Pappas said before the vote.

Democratic Representative Corey Bush from Missouri called the election of new leaders “historic” and a “time for change”.

Although Democrats will be reduced to a House minority in the new year during the 118th term, they will have little influence as the Republican majority is expected to be much smaller than predicted, and McCarthy will have a tenuous control over his party.

The two potential new leaders in the House of Representatives, Jefferies and McCarthy, are of the same generation, but there is virtually no real connection between them. In fact, Democrats have been known to criticize Republicans, especially because of the Republican Party’s support for former President Donald Trump. Jeffries was a managing counsel for the House of Representatives during Trump’s first impeachment attempt.

Jeffries said Wednesday that he would work with Republicans “where possible but we will also push against extremism if need be.”


Associated Press writers Farnoush Amiri and Michelle L. Prince, as well as Aaron Morrison in New York, contributed to this report.

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