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Hakeem Jeffries is Expected to Replace Nancy Pelosi as the Democratic Leader
Hakeem Jeffries, a New York representative, is likely to be chosen by House Democrats to succeed Nancy Pelosi as a speaker, making history by electing the first Black person to head a party in Congress. The speaker wouldn’t indicate who she would back in the election on November 30 to succeed her after she revealed on Thursday that she would step down from the leadership position she has held for 20 years.
However, after declaring they would likewise step aside from their leadership positions, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn swiftly praised Jeffries, an indication of his growing influence.
Speaking of the New York, Massachusetts, and California Democrats, Clyburn said in a statement, “Speaker Pelosi has left an indelible mark on Congress and the country. I look forward to her continued service and doing everything I can to help our new generation of Democratic leaders, which I hope will be Hakeem Jeffries, Katherine Clark, and Peter Aguilar. Hoyer predicted that Jeffries “will make history for our nation and the institution of the House.”
Jeffries, who is 52, would be a generational transition from the current trio of House Democratic leaders, who are all more than three decades his senior. In 2019, he was elected Democratic caucus chairman, making him the group’s youngest leader.
When questioned on Thursday about when he would publicly declare his candidacy for leader, Jeffries responded, “Let’s spend the day at this point continuing to contemplate the historic significance of Speaker Pelosi and the chance that we’ve all had to serve with her.”
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It’s been a fantastic experience, he continued. “We should continue to honor Speaker Pelosi at this time.” The House Democratic caucus appears to be overwhelmingly supportive of Jeffries. The head of the Congressional Black Caucus, Ohio Rep. Joyce Beatty, told CNN prior to Pelosi’s decision that she anticipated the caucus to endorse Jeffries.
Beatty declared, “I’m very clear that I will be leading the Congressional Black Caucus in voting for Hakeem Jeffries if she withdraws.” “I don’t always speak for everyone, but I’m extremely at ease saying I think every member of the Congressional Black Caucus would vote for Hakeem Jeffries,” the speaker said.
Join me as I make a major announcement on the Floor of the House of Representatives. https://t.co/Hi7zFqidbV
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) November 17, 2022
Former CBC chairman and retiring North Carolina representative G.K. Butterfield told CNN that if Pelosi resigned, Jeffries “is prepared for the moment.” Butterfield claimed that Jeffries would probably run. Additionally, former Congressional Progressive Caucus chair Mark Pocan of Wisconsin supported Jeffries. Pocan told CNN, “Hakeem Jeffries visited my class, and I’m a tremendous fan of Hakeem.
He is, in my opinion, quite intelligent and a wonderful choice to help the caucus reach a consensus. I believe he will be a great leader. Democratic legislators have been speculating for months that Jeffries would succeed Pelosi if she leaves Congress. Before being elected to the New York State Assembly in 2006, the Brooklyn-born lawyer earned degrees from the State University of New York at Binghamton, Georgetown, and New York University Law School.
Since being elected to Congress for the first time ten years ago, he has represented New York’s 8th District. Jeffries was a key player in the Trump administration’s efforts to pass the First Step Act, a bipartisan initiative that overhauled the criminal justice system, as well as in the first trial’s defense of the former president’s impeachment. Throughout the Biden administration, he has continued to influence the party’s messaging.
Some House Democrats have been eager to end the Pelosi administration for a while. She obtained the speaker’s gavel after the elections in 2006, lost it after the ones in 2010, and then regained it after the ones in 2018.
Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton, who has previously attempted to unseat Pelosi, told CNN that she is a historic speaker who has accomplished a tremendous amount. However, he added, “I also think there are a lot of Democrats ready for a new chapter.”
Whoever succeeds Pelosi will, however, do so in the shadow of one of the most influential and divisive people in American politics. The Speaker played a key role in passing the Affordable Care Act, the 2008 Economic Stimulus Bill, a $1.9 trillion bill to combat the coronavirus, a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package, and, most recently, a massive $750 billion tax and health care bill that included the largest investment in climate change mitigation in American history.
Pelosi, who will continue to represent San Francisco in Congress, will give her successor a larger-than-expected House minority after the 2022 midterm elections. Democrats expressed the wish that she would continue as leader.
Chuck Schumer, the Senate majority leader, clenched his chest when asked about Pelosi’s departure and said he had begged her to stay. “I told her that when she called and told me this and that, I asked her to please reconsider. We require your presence,” Schumer stated.