House Speaker Nancy Pelosi intends to keep leading the Democratic caucus next year.
After an election in which a panoply of Democrats lost their seats after Republican opponents sought to tie them to the unpopular (in some places) Speaker, Pelosi has announced she will run for House minority leader in the next Congress.
She sent this letter to her House Democratic colleagues today asking for their support and recounting some of the major accomplishments Democrats achieved in the four years since she took the gavel as the first female House speaker in history.
November 5, 2010
Over the past several days, I have spoken with many Democratic colleagues about how to continue our fight for to make our country more secure and strengthen the middle class, create jobs, protect Social Security and Medicare, and promote the innovation, technology and education to make America Number One in the world. As always, I am inspired by the fighting spirit of our Democratic Members.
As you know, Democrats have produced historic legislation in the area of health care, veterans' benefits, women's rights, Wall Street reform, and cutting taxes for 95 percent of the American people and millions of small businesses. And we have restored fiscal discipline to the Congress by making the deficit-cutting Pay As You Go rules the law of the land.
These accomplishments have begun the difficult work of recovering from the worst economic collapse since the 1930s and, according to independent reviews, prevented our country from plunging into another Great Depression. As a result, numerous congressional experts call this the most productive Congress in a half century. This was only possible because our Members had the courage of their convictions and put the interests of the Country first.
Our work is far from finished. As a result of Tuesday's election, the role of Democrats in the 112th Congress will change, but our commitment to serving the American people will not. We have no intention of allowing our great achievements to be rolled back. It is my hope that we can work in a bipartisan way to create jobs and strengthen the middle class
Many of our colleagues have called with their recommendations on how to continue our fight for the middle class, and have encouraged me to run for House Democratic Leader. Based on those discussions, and driven by the urgency of protecting health care reform, Wall Street reform, and Social Security and Medicare, I have decided to run.
I am writing to respectfully request your support and I look forward to hearing your views. Please let me know what you are thinking.
Thank you for your leadership and friendship.
The question had been raised of whether or not Pelosi would run for Speaker in the next Congress, if the Democrats retained their majority. Pelosi had answered that she would.
Some Democrats may not be happy with Pelosi after this election. North Carolina's Heath Shuler, for one, announced in a radio debate that he would challenge her for Speaker if no other viable alternatives emerged. Republicans tied Democrats to Pelosi across the nation, and when they weren't saying her name, they were attacking Democratic incumbents for their votes on health care and cap-and-trade--bills Pelosi was credited for passing by maintaining impressive party discipline to support President Obama's legislative agenda. Congressman Gene Taylor, an 11-term Democrat from Mississippi, lost his seat after his Republican challenger attacked him for voting for Pelosi for Speaker.
But if there are House Democrats who may have a gripe with Pelosi, many of those members won't be around next year when the caucus votes on its next leader in the minority.
Pelosi's Speakership will be remembered as a historic one, not just because she was the first woman to hold the position, but because major pieces of legislation were passed and Pelosi developed such renown for party discipline before it all ended so abruptly, with Pelosi herself at the center of 2010 midterm politics.