House Dem says leaders must know when to move on

House Dem says leaders must know when to move on
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Rep. Carolyn McCarthyCarolyn McCarthyWhy Congress needs an openly atheist member, now Lobbying World Lobbying world MORE (D-N.Y.) is calling for younger members to move up in the House Democratic Caucus and says leadership needs to think about when to step aside. 

“There might be some bumps in the road, but I do always believe that it’s time for younger people to take our spots, with fresh ideas and new ways of doing things,” McCarthy, who is retiring, said in an exit interview with C-SPAN.  

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She praised House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Pelosi Sunday shows preview: Leaders weigh in as country erupts in protest over George Floyd death 5 things to know about US-China tensions over Hong Kong Pelosi calls Trump's decision to withdraw US from WHO 'an act of extraordinary senselessness' MORE (D-Calif.), but also said the Democratic leader needs to think about her possible successors.

“One of the things that I certainly believe with all my heart and soul: You have to know when to leave,” McCarthy said. “And Nancy obviously does not feel that this is the time to leave. 

“Many of us thought that she might stay for maybe, you know, this coming year, and then hopefully turn the reins over to someone else, but when I look around, is anybody really ready to replace her?” McCarthy added. “I mean, it’s a hard job, and I give her a lot of credit for what she’s been able to do, but I think it’s time that the leaders start looking at, ‘Who’s going to fill my spot?’ ”

The current top three House Democrats are all in their 70s, and there has been discontent in the caucus, especially after Democrats' midterm losses. 

In a blow to Pelosi, House Democrats on Wednesday picked Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) over Pelosi's choice, Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), to be ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Committee.

Pelosi, for her part, has dismissed the question about stepping aside, calling it sexist. 

“It just is interesting, as a woman, to see how many times that question is asked of a woman, and how many times that question is never asked of Mitch McConnell,” Pelosi told reporters at a press conference last week, referring to her Republican counterpart in the Senate. 

McCarthy said Democratic leaders should start preparing younger members to take their spots. 

“I think they are equipped,” McCarthy said of leadership. “But I also think we have a lot of talented younger members.

“And it’s not just, by the way, Mrs. Pelosi. I think she’s been a great leader, I mean, and she is really good at raising money. That’s not one of my fortes, I was never good at that, but they have to start training younger people and bring younger people into the caucus to become, hopefully, the future leaders.” 

Democrats did get some younger blood in a leadership position with the announcement this week that Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), 42, will be the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-Mass.), seen as a rising star in the party, was approached about the DCCC job, but said he was not interested, according to The Boston Globe.

To McCarthy, it should be expected that younger members will take over for older ones. 

“I see nothing wrong with that, that’s a progression,” she said. “That’s a normal progression.”

McCarthy's full interview will run this Monday at 8:40 p.m. on C-SPAN.