U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries was selected by Democrats to take Nancy Pelosi’s place as their leader on Wednesday, ushering in new blood at the top of the leftist food chain and making the Brooklyn and Queens lawmaker the first black person to fill the powerful position in the House.
(Video Credit: MSNBC)
Pelosi announced earlier in November that she would be stepping down after 20 years of wielding power within the Democratic Party.
Jeffries, 52, who was first elected to office in New York in 2013, ascended the progressive chain of command as his colleagues elected him during a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill, according to the New York Post. The Democrats have officially lost control of the House of Representatives following the midterm elections, ceding power to the Republicans, so he will serve as the minority leader.
“It’s a solemn responsibility that we are all inheriting. And the best thing that we can do as a result of the seriousness and solemnity of the moment is lean in hard and do the best damn job that we can for the people,” Jeffries told ravenous reporters the night prior to his election.
He told his fellow Democrats in a letter announcing his intention to seek the leadership bid on Nov. 18 that he will look to the future with an eye toward unifying the party and regaining the majority in 2024.
(Video Credit: The Sun)
“To further unleash our talent and ability in the most powerful fashion possible, the entire team should be on the playing field and put in position to elevate our individual strengths, interests, and areas of expertise,” he wrote, espousing the oft-used notion of unity among Democrats.
“It will be my mission to make sure that every single Member of the Caucus has an authentic seat at the legislative table and the maximum opportunity to excel. That is my promise to you,” he vowed.
THREAD: Here are 8 times Hakeem Jeffries — the Democrats' new House leader — denied election results.
1. Jeffries said "the more we learn about 2016 election the more ILLEGITIMATE it becomes." pic.twitter.com/cjMYeKIsCs
— Kyle Martinsen (@KyleMartinsen_) November 30, 2022
Democrats also elected Rep. Katherine Clark of Massachusetts as minority whip and Rep. Pete Aguilar of California as caucus chairman. All three who were voted in ran unopposed. They replace Pelosi and her top lieutenants House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland and Majority Whip James Clyburn of South Carolina. All of those leaving are in their 80s.
Pelosi filed for re-election in 2024.
She will be 84 years old.
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) November 29, 2022
As she leaves her position but not the House, Pelosi was awarded the title of “speaker emerita” late Tuesday. Clyburn will assume the fourth-ranking role of assistant Democratic leader.
“It is an important moment for the caucus — that there’s a new generation of leadership,” Rep. Chris Pappas (D-NH) proclaimed before the vote took place.
Jeffries commented Tuesday that his goal for Democrats in the minority is to “find common ground with Republicans to get things done that can make life better for everyday Americans whenever possible.”
But, he added, “We are also prepared to oppose their extremism where we must.”
“There’s nothing more unifying than being in the minority and having a clear-eyed objective and goal of getting back into the majority,” he posited, according to Axios.
Humbled to be elected incoming House Democratic Leader.
Ready to get to work.
— Hakeem Jeffries (@RepJeffries) November 30, 2022
The Democrats showed a united front as leadership changed hands, but the Republicans are having a more confrontational switchover.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader, contentiously won the GOP nomination for speaker earlier this month. But he has to get 218 votes to win the position and so far there are a number of Republicans opposing him. The House vote will take place on Jan. 3.
McCarthy (R-CA) beat Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) 188-31 during the House Republican conference. He was 30 votes short of obtaining the gavel.
Biggs, Matt Gaetz (FL), Bob Good (VA), Ralph Norman (SC), Matt Rosendale (MT), and Chip Roy (TX) have all declared they will not support McCarthy.
In turn, McCarthy warned on Monday that Republicans should not “play games” or the Democrats, despite being in the minority, could wind up selecting the chamber’s next leader.
(Video Credit: Newsmax)
“This is very fragile that we are the only stopgap for this Biden administration,” McCarthy asserted in an interview with Newsmax. “And if we don’t do this right, the Democrats can take the majority. If we play games on the floor, the Democrats could end up picking who the speaker is.”
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