Lindsey McPherson

Nancy Pelosi Claims She Would be Speaker if Contest Held Today
‘Oh, please,’ California Democrat says about any need for GOP support

Updated 12:43 p.m. | Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi claims if the vote for speaker were held today, she would have the support to be elected on the floor, despite the claims of opponents they have the numbers to block her. 

“Yes,” the California Democrat answered simply when asked that question during her weekly press conference Thursday. 

Confidence Abounds Among Pelosi Supporters and Opponents — But One Side Will Lose
Anti-Pelosi contingent claims they have numbers to block Pelosi from becoming speaker

Two big questions surround the contingent of House Democrats opposing Nancy Pelosi’s bid for speaker: Are they bluffing when they say there are enough members prepared to vote against the California Democrat on the floor? And if they’re not, will that opposition hold until the Jan. 3 vote?

Leaders of the contingent, including Reps. Tim Ryan of Ohio, Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, Ed Perlmutter of Colorado, Filemon Vela of Texas and Kurt Schrader of Oregon, have all said they’re confident that when the 116th Congress begins on the third day of January, there will be more than enough Democrats ready to vote against Pelosi on the floor — not “present” or abstaining from voting — to prevent her from claiming the speaker’s gavel.

House Republicans to Consider Changing the Way They Select Committee Leaders
Proposal is part of a broader Thursday debate over internal conference rules

Update Thursday 5:01 p.m. | House Republicans on Thursday will consider changes to their internal conference rules, with several amendments targeting the process for selecting committee leaders. 

The biggest proposed change comes from Wisconsin Rep. Mike Gallagher, who wants committee members to be able to choose their own chairmen or ranking members. 

Kevin McCarthy Elected House Minority Leader Over Jim Jordan
Promotion to top GOP spot improves his chances of one day being speaker

House Republicans on Wednesday elected Rep. Kevin McCarthy as their minority leader over Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, a decision that improves the likelihood that one day the California Republican might be speaker. 

McCarthy has vowed to lead Republicans back into the majority over the next two years. If he succeeds, the chances of him being elected speaker would be significantly higher than had Republicans held the majority this year. 

Why So Few House Republican Leadership Races Are Contested
Five of the seven House GOP leadership positions are solo affairs

House Republicans on Wednesday are poised to elect their leadership team for the 116th Congress with little drama. Only the top and bottom slots of their seven elected positions are being contested despite the party losing more than 30 seats and its majority in the midterms.  

At the top, California Rep. Kevin McCarthy is expected to easily defeat Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan for minority leader.

Anti-Pelosi Democrats Claim They Have Numbers to Block Her in Speaker Floor Vote
Organizers gathering signatures for a letter they say will show the strength of their opposition

Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton, one of the leaders of a small Democratic contingent opposing Nancy Pelosi’s bid for speaker, said Tuesday he is “100 percent confident” the group has enough commitments to block the California Democrat from being elected speaker on the floor.

The anti-Pelosi group has been gathering signatures from new and returning members on a letter that calls for new Democratic leadership. It also notes that the signatories will not back Pelosi during the January floor vote for speaker.

Most House Democrats Will Be in Majority for First Time Ever
In contrast, most House Republicans have never been in the minority

Most House Democrats in the next Congress will be new to the majority and an overwhelming majority of Republicans will be new to the minority — a dynamic that could create a steep learning curve for members as they grapple with party strategy and messaging changes under the new power structure.

Even more significant is that a majority of leadership candidates for both parties have not served in a Democrat-led House.

House Democratic Factions All See Gains After Midterms
Progressive Caucus, New Democrats, Blue Dogs tout their expanding ranks

The two largest ideology-based Democratic factions in the House — the Congressional Progressive Caucus and the New Democrat Coalition — are both projecting they’ll have more than 90 members next year after the party picked up over 30 seats in last week’s midterms.

The growth comes at a time when numbers will matter for these groups, more than they have for the past eight years when their party has been in the minority. With the House in their hands next year, Democrats will get to set the legislative agenda and control what bills come to the floor.

14 Democrats Push Back on Raising Caucus Threshold for Speaker Race
Caucus threshold should remain simple majority; members should unite behind winner, they say

A group of 14 Democrats who support Nancy Pelosi for speaker are pushing back on a proposal from some of their anti-Pelosi colleagues to raise the caucus threshold for nominating a speaker candidate. 

House Democratic Caucus rules make all of their elected leadership positions subject to a simple-majority vote. Then, under House rules, the speaker nominee chosen by the caucus needs to win votes from a majority of the entire chamber — 218, if everyone is present and voting. 

With an Ambitious Policy Agenda, Pelosi is Poised to Lead the House Again
Calls increased from Democratic incumbents and candidates asking for new generation of leaders

Basking in House Democrats’ midterm election wins, Nancy Pelosi is focused on the planks of the Democratic campaign platform that will become the new majority’s agenda: health care, infrastructure and cleaning up corruption in Washington.

But the California Democrat cannot escape questions about another theme that emerged on the campaign trail — opposition to her leadership.

Republican Study Committee to Decide Between Mike Johnson, Tom McClintock for Next Chairman
Both candidates want to boost the RSC’s role in developing and communicating conservative policy ideas

House Republicans aren’t shying away from their conservative beliefs after they lost more than 30 seats to Democrats in last week’s midterm election. If anything they’re doubling down and trying to hone in on a more conservative message heading into 2020.

The Republican Study Committee, the largest conservative caucus in Congress, has long wrestled with questions about what it means to be a conservative and how to enact conservative policy in a divided Congress. Even with unified Republican government these past two years, the RSC struggled to enact some of its key priorities, such as pro-life policies and work requirements for government benefits.

From Speaker on Down, Here’s Who’s in the Hill Leadership Hunt
House and Senate Republican conferences set to vote this week

Updated Tuesday, 3:44 p.m. | With the midterms — mostly — behind us, attention has shifted to the intraparty leadership elections on Capitol Hill for the House and Senate. 

Here’s a look at the various positions that members of both parties and chambers will be voting on in the coming weeks. 

House Intelligence Committee Staff Director Damon Nelson Dies
Nelson had worked for Devin Nunes since he came to Congress in 2003

Damon Nelson, the staff director for the House Intelligence Committee, died Saturday following a brief illness.

Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, Nelson’s boss, shared the news in a statement expressing “deep sorrow” for the death of his employee and friend. The California Republican did not provide further detail about Nelson’s illness. Nelson died at Anne Arundel Medical Center in Maryland.

Sean Patrick Maloney Fourth Candidate to Enter DCCC Chair Race
N.Y. Democrat joins Bustos, DelBene and Heck in race for campaign chief

New York Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney on Saturday became the fourth candidate to enter the race to chair the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee heading into the 2020 cycle. 

The position to head up the House Democrats’ campaign arm is quickly becoming the most coveted leadership slot, even though the party will be defending a number of seats in traditionally Republican districts in two years time. The current DCCC chairman, New Mexico Rep. Ben Ray Luján — coming off a strong midterm election that has seen the party pick up over 30 seats and take back the House — is running for assistant Democratic leader.

Cheri Bustos Drops Out of Assistant Leader Race to Run for DCCC Chair
Illinois Democrat’s decision avoids face-off with current DCCC chairman Luján

Illinois Rep. Cheri Bustos announced Friday that she was dropping out of the race for the next assistant Democratic leader and would instead seek to chair the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. 

“One of the greatest challenges we face in the next Congress is defending and expanding our majority,” Bustos said.

Republicans Missed Opportunities to Retain House Majority, Jim Jordan Says
‘If we’d handled the past two years differently, we would still be the majority party in the House’

Freedom Caucus co-founder Jim Jordan, who is running for minority leader, has a tough message for his colleagues: If House Republicans had done more to change Washington and deliver on their campaign promises, they would still be in the majority.

“This might be a tough pill to swallow, but I believe that if we’d handled the past two years differently, we would still be the majority party in the House of Representatives,” the Ohio Republican wrote in a dear colleague letter first obtained by Roll Call.

Rep. Linda Sánchez’s Husband Indicted for Theft of Federal Funds
California Democrat dropped leadership bid citing “unexpected family matter”

The “unexpected family matter” cited by California Rep. Linda T. Sánchez in withdrawing from the race for House Democratic Caucus chair relates to her husband, who was indicted on theft and conspiracy charges related to spending corporate money on personal trips, including some allegedly spent on Sánchez. 

“Earlier today I learned that my husband is facing charges in Connecticut,” Sánchez said in a statement Thursday. “After careful consideration of the time and energy being in leadership demands, I have decided that my focus now needs to be on my son, my family, and my constituents in California.”

Linda Sánchez Withdraws From Democratic Caucus Chair Race
California Democrat cites family matter in letter informing colleagues she’s no longer running for leadership

California Rep. Linda Sánchez is dropping out of the race for Democratic Caucus chair, citing an “unexpected family matter” that requires her attention. 

“While I will not continue to serve in an official leadership position next year, I look forward to continuing my service to the people of California’s 38th District and doing the important work of the Committee on Ways and Means,” she wrote in a letter informing her colleagues of her decision to withdraw. “Our new caucus chair can count on my full support and I intend to remain a resource for new and returning members.”

Cathy McMorris Rodgers Not Running for Leadership
Washington Republican will instead seek ranking member subcommittee post on Energy and Commerce

House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers has decided not to run for re-election to her leadership position and will instead seek a ranking member subcommittee post on the Energy and Commerce Committee.

McMorris Rodgers had wanted to move up in leadership and was eying the whip position had Republicans won the majority. But since Republicans lost and she did not want to challenge Steve Scalise, she decided to pursue a committee leadership slot rather than seek a fourth term as head of the Republican Conference, according to source familiar with her thinking.

Hakeem Jeffries Enters Democratic Caucus Chair Race
Now a three-way contest as Reps. Linda Sánchez and Barbara Lee were already running

New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries announced Thursday that he is running for Democratic Caucus chair, creating another three-way leadership race

California Reps. Linda Sánchez and Barbara Lee had announced months ago they were running for caucus chair. The two had squared off against one another for vice chair in 2016, a race that Sánchez won by just two votes.