Synopsis: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Thursday that she will step down as leader of the House Democrats after leading them for two decades.
Nancy Pelosi announces her decision not to run for Speaker of the House
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Thursday that she will step down as leader of the House Democrats after two decades of service, leaving a legacy as one of the most powerful and divisive figures in American politics.
Nancy Pelosi, the first and only female speaker, announced that she would remain in the House, allowing the next generation to lead the House Democrats, who will be in the minority after this year despite an improved midterm election performance.
“I will not run for Democratic leadership in the next Congress,” Pelosi declared in the House chamber. “For me, the time has come for a new generation to lead the Democratic caucus that I admire so much, and I’m grateful that so many are ready and willing to take on this enormous responsibility.”
Nancy Pelosi, 82, rose to the head of the Democratic caucus in the House in 2002 after leading many members of her party in opposition to a resolution authorising the use of force in Iraq. She then led Democrats as they rode the tides of public opinion, seeing their power swell to a 257-seat majority following the 2008 elections, then crash to a 188-seat minority, and then rise again.
Her political career was flagged by an exceptional ability to understand and overcome political shifts, keeping her party’s opposing factions united in passing major legislation. She held the Speaker’s gavel twice, in 2006 and 2018, and lost it after the 2010 elections.
She has recently completed a string of accomplishments with one of the smallest party splits in history, including the passage of a $1.9 trillion pandemic aid package last year and a $750 billion health care, energy, and climate bill in August.
Her legislative victories during the Joe Biden administration reinforced her reputation as one of Congress’ most successful party leaders. During Obama era, Pelosi was essential in the passing of the enormous economic stimulus programme as well as the 2010 Affordable Care Act, which offers health care coverage to over 35 million Americans.
Republicans have relentlessly attacked the California liberal over the last 20 years, portraying her as the personification of a party for the coastal elite. “We fired Nancy Pelosi,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said on Fox News on Wednesday, after Republicans reclaimed control of the chamber.
In recent years, the rage directed at her has grown dangerous. Pro-Trump rioters looked for her during the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, and last month, a male assailant attacked Paul Pelosi, the speaker’s husband, with a hammer at the couple’s home in San Francisco while she was in Washington.
The politically motivated attack would have an impact on her decision to retire. Paul Pelosi was released from the hospital two weeks ago after undergoing surgery to repair a skull fracture as well as arm and hand injuries.
The House chamber erupted into a standing ovation after she thanked her colleagues for their well-wishes for Paul.
Democrats are now looking for Pelosi’s successor
Nancy Pelosi’s long tenure caused friction within her own party. She won the presidency after the 2018 elections by promising her own party that she would step down by 2022.
Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton, who previously attempted to depose Pelosi, said she is a historic speaker who has accomplished a great deal, but he also believes there are many Democrats ready for a new chapter.
Some Democrats, however, praised Pelosi and expressed their desire for her to continue as leader. When asked about her decision, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer clutched his chest and stated that he had begged her to stay.
Though Democrats will not vote until November 30, it appears that New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, 52, will be chosen to succeed Pelosi as leader.
Nancy Pelosi is a legendary figure in American politics, with a history of breaking gender barriers as the first and so far only female speaker of the United States House of Representatives.
Pelosi was elected to the House for the first time in 1987, when she won a special election to fill a vacancy in California’s 5th Congressional District.
Nancy Pelosi reflected on the significance of the event and what it meant for women in the United States when she was first elected speaker.
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