Progressive leaders back Clyburn over Hoyer for minority whip post

Both House leaders of the Congressional Progressive Caucus are throwing their support behind Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) in his race against Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) for minority whip.

"I support Mr. Clyburn. They both have been effective leaders, but Jim Clyburn is our whip, and he’s been a good whip,” the co-chairwoman of the caucus, Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.), told The Hill. Woolsey said the group’s co-chairman, Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), was also backing Clyburn, although the caucus as a whole was not taking a position in the intra-party battle.

ADVERTISEMENT
“We’ll be working it [for Clyburn], but not for the progressive caucus,” Woolsey said. Grijalva was not immediately available for comment.

House majority leader Hoyer is challenging majority whip Clyburn for his post in the new Democratic minority after Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced Friday she would seek to remain as party leader. While House liberals would be expected to line up behind Clyburn, Hoyer — a favorite of centrists and Blue Dogs — has announced endorsements from several members of the caucus, including Reps. Jared Polis (Colo.) and Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.).

Woolsey panned a proposal floated by the Hoyer camp for each of the top four House Democratic leaders to move down a post in order of their rank in the 112th Congress. That would make Pelosi the minority leader, Hoyer the whip, Clyburn the caucus chairman, Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.) the vice chairman and would bump the current vice chairman, Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), out of the leadership. Both Larson and Becerra are running to keep their jobs.

“The bump-down scenario I don’t think is a solution,” Woolsey said. “My solution is not to force a runoff between John Larson and Xavier.”

She added that party leaders are trying to work out a deal that would satisfy the contenders and that she hoped it could be resolved in the coming days.

Woolsey said both the progressive caucus and the Congressional Black Caucus had to be represented “fully and with respect” in the Democratic leadership. “We’re going to play a key role in this next Congress, and that diversity has to be represented in the leadership,” she said.