WASHINGTON — House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi cut a deal with her opponents in her caucus on Wednesday, agreeing to limit her time as speaker to a maximum of four years in return for their support in the Jan. 3 House vote.
The deal will secure the minimum of 218 Democratic votes that she needs to once again become speaker of the House, though some rebels including Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City) will support the term limits but won’t vote for her next month.
And with Pelosi's election as speaker all but assured, the deal ends the questioning of her political strength by President Donald Trump and House Republicans as she campaigned and worked her members to nail down her victory.
“Over the past few weeks I’ve remained open to reaching a compromise with Leader Pelosi that would ensure a real leadership transition within our caucus. But I can’t support a deal that would maintain the current leadership structure for another four years,” Rice said in a statement.
“That’s not my idea of a transition. I took on this fight because I wanted to see change, not more of the same,” said Rice, who will be joined by some incoming Democrats who campaigned on voting against Pelosi.
But other members of the opposition group that signed a letter demanding a change in leadership relented, despite their concern that Pelosi, 78, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), 79, and Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), 78, have been in power for too long and new faces are needed.
“We are proud that our agreement will make lasting institutional change that will strengthen our caucus and will help develop the next generation of Democratic leaders,” said a statement led by Rep. Ed Perlmutter of Colorado and six other Democrats.
In a statement announcing the deal, Pelosi said, “Over the summer, I made it clear that I see myself as a bridge to the next generation of leaders, a recognition of my continuing responsibility to mentor and advance new Members into positions of power and responsibility in the House Democratic Caucus.”
Under the agreement, Pelosi will not retaliate against her critics, Politico reported, citing sources familiar with the agreement.