Pelosi Signals She Will Honor Pledge to Step Down as Speaker By 2022

Pelosi Signals She Will Honor Pledge to Step Down as Speaker By 2022
U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks to media at the Democratic National Committee headquarters on Capitol Hill in Washington on Nov. 3, 2020. (Erin Scott - Pool/Getty Images)
Isabel van Brugen

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) signaled Wednesday that she would “abide by” a pledge she made two years ago that she would not seek reelection as speaker in 2022.

Pelosi, 80, made the remarks after she was nominated by House Democrats to remain in her position for another two years.

“I will abide by those limits,” she told reporters.

In 2007, the California Democrat became the first female House speaker in history, and then reclaimed the position almost two years ago. At the time, she announced that she would step down as speaker of the House by 2022 as part of a deal with Democratic lawmakers pushing for generational change.

“When that conversation took place, there was a move to put limits on the leadership and the chairs of committees. ... What I said then is whether it passes or not, I will abide by those limits that are there,” Pelosi said during the press briefing.

“I don’t want to undermine any leverage I may have, but I made the statement.”

“If my husband is listening, don’t let me have to be more specific than that, because we never expected to have another term now,” Pelosi added, noting that she wasn’t asked by other members before Wednesday’s vote if this would be her final term.

Pelosi ran unopposed among Democrats to secure the nomination but she will have to net 218 votes during the full House floor vote in January. After the 2018 midterm election, several Democrats broke ranks and didn’t select her. Democrats lost several seats this time around.

“Congratulations to @SpeakerPelosi, once again elected by House Democrats to be our fearless leader and nominee for Speaker of the House for the 117th Congress! #DownWithNDP #ForThePeople,” the House Democrats account wrote on Twitter.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) were also elected, according to the account. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) was elected to serve as the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.

Following Election Day, there was speculation that Democrats wouldn’t be able to come to an agreement to unite behind Pelosi in the House.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said over the weekend that Pelosi may win reelection to the top post in the body but his party would ultimately run things because of the infighting between progressives and moderates in the Democratic party, which would only hold a majority as slim as a few seats.

McCarthy suggested Saturday that Pelosi would have a difficult time maintaining control.

“But if she wins as speaker, you have [Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] and the progressive socialists actually grow. They are fighting among themselves, tweeting at one another, pictures staring at one another, saying it’s a dumpster fire, screaming on their conference calls,” McCarthy told Fox News’ “Justice” program.

Pelosi on Nov. 5 indicated in a letter to her caucus that she would again attempt to run for speaker of the House.

“Our vision for the next two years must be built on the success of the Democratic House majority in the 116th Congress, and to harness the extraordinary visions, values, and vibrancy of our caucus to secure the progress that the American people deserve,” Pelosi wrote to her members.

Jack Phillips contributed to this report.