On Thursday, November 17, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced she would be stepping down and no longer leading the House Democrats. After gaveling the house into session, Pelosi made the announcement and received a standing ovation from her colleagues. No. 2 Democrat, Steny Hoyer, has also announced that he would be stepping down. Pelosi was the first woman to hold the position, and after 35 years she says she will continue to represent her California district. Speaker Pelosi was greeted with heartfelt applause from her staff while she walked off the House floor, with many clapping, cheering, and crying.
Many of Pelosi’s colleagues have commented on her stepping down. President Biden released a statement, saying that Pelosi would be remembered as “the most consequential speaker of the House Representatives in our history.” Along with Speaker Pelosi and Representative Steny Hoyer of Maryland, Representative Jim Clyburn from South Carolina, holding the position of the No. 3 Democrat in House, is said to be planning on ceding the position, and is seeking to become the assistant leader.
In her announcement, Pelosi stated that a ‘new generation’ will lead the House democrats. In the absence of the top 3 democrats, a new younger trio of leaders will replace them. Representatives Hakeem Jeffries of New York, Katherine Clark of Massachusetts, and Pete Aguilar of California are expected to succeed the top 3 House Democrat spots. Clark, Aguilar, and Jeffries are currently positioning themselves to become the new top 3 Democrats in the House of Representatives. This is a huge generational change as the three previous leaders are all currently in their 80s, while their successors are all aged in the 40s to 50s range. Mr. Jeffries has commented, stating “I know we will draw on that wisdom often as we come together as a caucus to begin a new chapter, reflecting the hopes, dreams and aspirations of the people we represent.”
Pelosi began her speech by reminiscing about when she was six years old, and how she went “from homemaker to House Speaker.” She describes that Capitol as a, “temple of our democracy, of our Constitution, of our highest ideals..” Her farewell speech also included paying homage to the Americans who served before her, and spoke of past historic legislative acts of the House. “A new day is dawning on the horizon, and I look forward, always forward, to the unfolding story of our nation,” she said, “A story of light and love, of patriotism and progress, of many becoming one, and always an unfinished mission to make the dreams of today the reality of tomorrow.”