Pelosi Reaches Deal with Democrats for Bid as Speaker of the House

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced on Wednesday a deal with progressive Democrats to clinch the votes to be elected as Speaker of the House. Pelosi, who previously served as Speaker of the House in 2009, agreed to limit her term as Speaker of the House to four, for a total of eight years. The agreement would also apply to the party’s other two top leaders, and almost certainly clears the way for Rep. Pelosi to reclaim the mantle as the first woman to serve as speaker.

The deal with Democrats has consisted of trading committee assignments, promising to prioritize lawmakers’ pet issues, instating rule changes to empower centrists and a pledge to relinquish the speakership — if the Democrats keep control in 2020 — before her 83rd birthday.

Despite the deal, still some Democrats have dissented, arguing that term limits erodes influence and many still call for new leadership. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, who is set to become House Majority Leader in 2019, has spoken out against Pelosi’s deal, unwilling to compromise on term limits. Regardless of the push back against the compromise, Pelosi has maintained that she will commit to the term limits with or without the support of her own party.

While the idea of term limits are a step forward, the call for new leadership within the Democratic party remains persistent. For the past decade, the party has been governed by the same three Democrats—Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD), and James E. Clyburn (D-SC). The argument for new and younger leadership is that that with new leaders, there is room to promote better ideas for the new generation. Pelosi spoke of herself as a bridge to both generations, however, her sentiments fall short when her planned agenda for next year do not reflect what progressive Democrats are pushing for. 

Representative-elect progressive Democrat Alexandria  Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14) has been outspoken about her concerns for Pelosi’s speakership and where her loyalties may lie. Ocasia-Cortez joined environmental activists in protest outside of Pelosi’s office just days after winning her election. She has since campaigned for the creation of a Select Committee on a Green New Deal. Despite her reservations on Pelosi’s bid, Ocasio-Cortez has endorsed Pelosi for Speaker—however, on the condition that Pelosi remains the most progressive. With this to , however, the foundations remain rocky with progressive Democrats.