Hakeem Jeffries is projected to head House Democrats following Pelosi.
Washington, Nov. 17, 2016 Hakeem Jeffries, a liberal congressman from New York, is now a likely front-runner to lead the party for the next two years as a result of Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi’s decision to step down from her leadership position after her fellow Democrats lost their majority in last week’s midterm elections.
As the first black House Democratic leader, Jeffries, 52, would symbolize the party’s broad voting base as well as usher in a new era of leadership. Two other members of the party’s leadership are in their 80s, including Pelosi, the first woman to occupy the position of speaker. Pelosi is 82 years old. On November 30, House Democrats are expected to vote on their new leaders.
Additionally, Jeffries, who has served as the head of the House Democratic Caucus since 2019, would have a different leadership stance than Pelosi, who announced her statement on Thursday. He is often seen as being more reticent, but she has shown in two spells as speaker that she is hard-charging.
One House Democratic official who was closely monitoring the leadership wrangling and requested anonymity said, “It’s Jeffries’ to lose.”
In the 435-seat House, Pelosi and other senior Democrats have come under pressure to make room for a newer generation of Democrats.
The position of leading House Democrat may also be desired by certain other powerful Democrats.
Steny Hoyer, the 83-year-old current leader of the House Democrats, said he would not run for office in the next Congress and supported Jeffries.
James Clyburn of South Carolina, who is now the third-ranking House Democrat, is another candidate for the top leadership position. He is 82 years old. Clyburn has been a significant voice in the Congressional Black Caucus and was instrumental in igniting President Joe Biden’s bid for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
Prior to Pelosi’s declaration, Clyburn informed reporters that he would continue to serve in the leadership of the House Democrats no matter what course she chose.
“I want to continue being in charge.” Clyburn said, “I’ve been saying that all year, and I have no clue whose leadership position in the next Congress he will take.”
Clyburn stated, “The caucus will decide.”
Massachusetts’s Representative Katherine Clark, 59, is most likely going to seek the “whip,” the No. 2 position in the Democratic leadership. Like Jeffries, Clark has held leadership roles and is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Moderate Californian Pete Aguilar may succeed Jeffries as chairman of the caucus by rising from his position as vice chairman.
THE MINORITY PARTY
On legislation, strategy, and message, the next House Democratic leader will be expected to collaborate closely with other members of the party leadership.
Due to his pivotal involvement in the impeachment of Donald Trump and the ensuing inquiry into the former Republican president’s participation in the assault by his supporters on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, Democratic Representative Adam Schiff, 62, has also gained fame in recent years.
But according to a person familiar with his plans who spoke on the condition of anonymity, Schiff is not interested in becoming the leader of the House and is instead thinking about running for the Senate.
Compared to the speaker, the minority leader has far less influence. The Democratic leadership team’s role in the minority will be to decide whether and when to support Republicans in passing important laws, such as those for government financing, in the face of possible far-right Republican uprisings.
Depending on the results of the few remaining House elections that are still up in the air and where ballots are still being tallied, Republican Kevin McCarthy, who is positioning himself to become speaker, will preside over a very tight majority in the chamber with no more than seven votes to play with.
Leading Democrats will also be in charge of advancing Biden’s agenda over the last two years of his tenure. Additionally, it would support him in any Republican-led House probes of his family or administration.
The party leader also has a significant impact on generating money for House Democratic candidates. Pelosi was particularly successful in this area, having raised hundreds of millions of dollars over the course of her two-decade career.