Home Georgia & USA In a historic vote, Democrats choose Jeffries over Pelosi as party leader

In a historic vote, Democrats choose Jeffries over Pelosi as party leader

In a historic vote, Democrats choose Jeffries over Pelosi as party leader

House Democrats on Wednesday selected Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (N.Y.) to lead the party in the next Congress, marking a generational shift after 20 years in office by Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), making Jeffries the first black figure to lead any party in Congress in history of the country.

The shift did not come as a surprise. After Pelosi and her top lieutenants announced earlier this month that they would step down from the top three leadership positions next year, Jeffries became one of three next-generation leaders who swooped in to cement their place as undisputed contenders at the top of the party leadership.

Two others — Reps. Katherine Clark (Mass.) and Pete Aguilar (Calif.) — were also elected to those new leadership positions on Wednesday. Clark will replace Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Med.) as the second-ranking Democrat next year, while Aguilar will fill the vacancy left by Rep. Jim Clyburn (SC) in the third-ranking seat.

None of the new leaders faced an opponent, making Wednesday’s meeting feel more like a coronation than an election.

This in no way softened the celebratory tone of the Democrats.

Jeffries, for his part, insists he hasn’t had much time to reflect on the historic significance of his leadership role, saying he’s focused instead on moving Democrats into the minority and the “solemn responsibility” he’s about to take on. on himself.

“The best thing we can do as a result of the seriousness and solemnity of this moment is to work hard and do the best job we can for the people,” he said.

Other Democrats are less modest, especially those in the Congressional Black Caucus, where Jeffries’ rise is being hailed as another major milestone in the long, bitter struggle for civil rights.

“As an African-American, this sends a message to this country that it’s time for real diversity and integration. And there are so many people of color who are capable and competent and can lead,” said Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), a 32-year veteran and highly influential member of the Black Caucus. “It’s going to be a great image for people of color and for black people and little black boys to be able to run for that high office.”

Jeffries’ ascension means Democrats will have a Brooklyn native leading both the House and Senate, where Charles Schumer (N.Y.) is poised to remain majority leader after Democrats held on to their majority in the upper chamber in the midterm elections.

Jeffries said he has a “great relationship” with Schumer, who spent nearly two decades in the House of Representatives before moving to the Senate. However, when asked if he was happy that Brooklyn was so well represented in Congress, Jeffries responded coyly.

“It’s a big concern in Brooklyn,” he said.

Schumer, for his part, is counting on the partnership.

“I can’t wait to talk to my neighbor from Brooklyn four to six times a day like I did with Speaker Pelosi,” the Senate leader said Wednesday morning.

The vote came after a midterm cycle in which Democrats lost control of the House but fared much better than polls and pundits had predicted, leaving Republicans with just a slim majority in the next Congress — and creating plenty of headaches for GOP leaders trying to unify their the troubled conference lags behind the party’s priorities.

Jeffries formally announced his bid for the Democratic Party leadership a day after Pelosi announced in a long-awaited speech from the House of Representatives that she would not seek leadership in the next Congress, setting an end date for her historic two-decade reign in Congress. top of the Democratic Party.

Soon after, two deputy speakers — Hoyer and Clyburn — also announced they would not seek to remain in top positions in the caucus, clearing the way for a new generation of Democrats to lead the party.

Jeffries has long been seen as Pelosi’s successor. The Brooklyn Democrat quickly rose through the ranks after he arrived in Washington in 2013, becoming co-chair of the caucus’s messaging division and then chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.

In 2018, he narrowly edged out incumbent Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) for party chair in a tight race that put him on the path to becoming the frontrunner.

The Big Three in the Democratic caucus quickly endorsed Jeffries to lead the party in the House shortly after he announced his bid. Hoyer called him an “effective and historic champion,” and before Jeffries announced his bid, Clyburn called the New York Democrat “absolutely fantastic.”

Updated at 12:05 p.m

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