Clyburn urges colleagues to back Pelosi's plan to create his No. 3 spot

House Democratic "Assistant Leader"-to-be Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) asked his colleagues to support Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) proposal to add a seat at the leadership table for him in the next Congress.

The letter signified the end of what was shaping up to be a nasty fight between Clyburn and current Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) for the No. 2 ranked Democratic leadership position in the 112th Congress.

In a "Dear Colleague" letter to members of the Democratic Caucus, Clyburn enlisted support for the peace-offering plan to create a new No. 3 ranking position in the minority party leadership team.

"I respectfully solicit your support for the resolution of this matter that has been promulgated by Nancy Pelosi. It adds an elected Leadership position and maintains a Leadership structure that honors the diversity and fosters the unity of our Caucus," Clyburn stated in the letter.

He went on to explain that he listened to his colleagues who wanted to resolve the issue before the caucus was forced to choose between Hoyer and Clyburn.

"I also heard from a significant number of members who desire to avoid a contest between Steny Hoyer and me for Whip and between John Larson and me for Caucus Chairman. But if everyone were to take a step back as some had suggested, Xavier Becerra would have been forced away from the Leadership table, a consequence that I felt would be harmful to our Caucus and our purpose," Clyburn wrote.

With the loss of the Speaker’s gavel, at least one Democrat in the leadership team was to be squeezed out of a high-ranking position.

Pelosi appeared to avoid that scenario with the creation of this new No. 3 position, though the portfolio of the new Assistant Leader has yet to be determined, according to a Democratic source familiar with the situation.

Earlier Saturday, Pelosi sent a letter to her colleagues explaining the arrangement and requesting their support.

"Should I receive the privilege of serving as House Democratic Leader, I will be very honored to nominate our outstanding colleague, Congressman Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, to serve in the number three House Democratic position. I will also ask the Caucus to designate that position as Assistant Leader," Pelosi stated in the letter.

It was unclear how the budgets and staff sizes for leadership in the minority party would be divvied up, though.

Hoyer, who was informed of the plan Friday night, according to a senior Democratic aide, issued a statement supporting the proposal as well.

“Since the election last week, I have made clear my belief that it was important for my friend Jim Clyburn to continue serving our Caucus as the third ranking Member of our Leadership. It is my hope that happens when elections are held on Wednesday. With the support of my colleagues from across the Caucus, I look forward to serving as the Democratic Whip, the number two position in Democratic Leadership in the 112th Congress," Hoyer said.

Under the new arrangement, Pelosi would remain the top-ranking House Democrat, Hoyer would move to Minority Whip, Clyburn would take on the new role and current Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson (D-Conn.) will likely remain in that role.

At this time, the races for the top four positions are uncontested.

Though Pelosi did not mention Hoyer's name in her late night release or in her letter to colleagues, aides confirmed to The Hill that the top-ranking Democrat supports Hoyer's bid to continue to serve as her deputy.

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