After a historic 19-year run leading House Democrats, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced Thursday that she will not seek election to any leadership roles in the next Congress, due to begin in January.
Within a half hour of Pelosi’s announcement, House Maj. Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) also announced that he will not seek a leadership role in the next Congress.
It’s been speculated that Pelosi will pass the torch to House Democratic Chair Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), and, while still serving as a member in the next Congress, will also serve as a guide to the party’s new House leaders.
Pelosi’s announcement comes the day after Republicans gained control of the House with a slim 218-seat majority. Six seats have not yet been called.
As she addressed the House Floor, Pelosi said, "With great confidence in our caucus, I will not seek reelection to Democratic leadership in the next Congress. For me, the hour has come for a new generation to lead the Democratic caucus that I so deeply respect."
Pelosi was the first woman in U.S. history to serve as speaker and rise as high as she did in government, surpassed in that regard only last year with the inauguration of Vice Pres. Kamala Harris.
Pelosi's legacy includes helping to push through still-controversial bank bailouts in response to the 2008 financial crisis, persisting in the Affordable Care Act battle until she won, and standing up literally and metaphorically to Pres. Donald Trump.
Trump’s supporters targeted Pelosi by name during the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, occupying and ransacking her office. Just weeks ago, her husband Paul was attacked with a hammer in their California home.
In a statement, Pres. Joe Biden said that when he thinks of Pelosi, he thinks of “dignity” and that “she is the most consequential Speaker of the House of Representatives in our history.”
In a statement about his own decision, Hoyer said, "I believe that it is time for me … to continue my service in a different role.”
Majority Whip Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) did not immediately make any announcement about the role he hopes to play in the next Congress. He did however say in a statement, “Speaker Pelosi has left an indelible mark on Congress and the country, and I look forward to her continued service and doing whatever I can to assist our new generation of Democratic Leaders which I hope to be Hakeem Jeffries, Katherine Clark, and Pete Aguilar.”
Democratic leadership elections are expected to take place at the end of the month.
TYT Washington Correspondent Candice Cole was previously a correspondent and senior White House producer for the Black News Channel and has worked at a number of local news outlets. You can find her on Twitter @CandiceColeNews.