Pelosi rues loss of Dem talent

Pelosi rues loss of Dem talent
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The looming retirement of Maryland Sen. Barbara MikulskiBarbara Ann MikulskiForeign policy congressional committees need to call more women experts Lobbying World Only four Dem senators have endorsed 2020 candidates MORE (D) threatens to gut House Democrats of some of their top talent, House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSunday shows preview: Justice Ginsburg dies, sparking partisan battle over vacancy before election Trump is betting big on the suburbs, but his strategy is failing 'bigly' Trump orders flags at half-staff to honor 'trailblazer' Ginsburg MORE (D-Calif.) lamented Tuesday. 

“I think you could probably say that Sen. Mikulski's decision not to seek reelection has caused a stunning change in our House Democratic Caucus, if everyone who says he or she is running decides to run,” Pelosi told reporters in the Capitol. “I think that's the biggest hit in terms of the talent in the House.”

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A senator since 1987, the 78-year-old Mikulski announced earlier in the month that she plans to retire at the end of 2016, when her fifth term expires. 

The move sparked a storm of interest from Maryland's House delegation, including Reps. Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenMid-Atlantic states sue EPA over Chesapeake Bay pollution Trump payroll-tax deferral for federal workers sparks backlash Senators urge administration to make payroll tax deferral optional for federal workers MORE, ranking member of the Budget Committee, and Donna EdwardsDonna F. EdwardsThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Dems, GOP dig in on police reform ahead of House vote The Memo: Strife turns up heat on Trump Democratic Senate candidate blasts own party for racial 'foghorn' MORE, head of the Democrats' Steering and Policy Committee, who both quickly threw their hats into the ring. 

Maryland Reps. Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsBlack GOP candidate accuses Behar of wearing black face in heated interview Overnight Health Care: US won't join global coronavirus vaccine initiative | Federal panel lays out initial priorities for COVID-19 vaccine distribution | NIH panel: 'Insufficient data' to show treatment touted by Trump works House Oversight Democrats to subpoena AbbVie in drug pricing probe MORE (D), senior Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, John Delaney (D), John Sarbannes (D) and Dutch Ruppersberger (D) have also expressed interest in the race.

“I think almost everybody – not Steny – but almost everybody else is looking at the race,” Pelosi said, referring to Maryland Rep. Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerHouse Democrats postpone vote on marijuana decriminalization bill Democrats scramble on COVID-19 relief amid division, Trump surprise The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by The Air Line Pilots Association - Pence lauds Harris as 'experienced debater'; Trump, Biden diverge over debate prep MORE, her top lieutenant. 

“Hopefully over the course of the next few weeks or months, there'll be some winnowing down.” 

Maryland is not alone. Pelosi also rued that 2016 Senate races in several other states – including California, Illinois and Florida – are also threatening to thin the crop of young and up-and-coming House Democrats. 

“We're used to improving the talent in the Senate, sending over some of our very best people. It’s just that so many of the people who are in the [House] leadership ... are looking at that,” Pelosi said. “And so my view is bittersweet. You know, I want members to reach their own personal fulfillment, and they'd be great [senators], I know. I also want to see some generational change in the House.”

Pelosi singled out Reps. Xavier Becerra (Calif.), head of the House Democratic Caucus, Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and Patrick Murphy (D-Fla.) as potentially leaving the House next year for a shot at the upper chamber. And that list, Pelosi said, “is not inclusive of all the names of people who are thinking about running” across the country.

“If I had my way I'd have none of them run, they'd all stay here and continue to enrich our leadership in the House,” Pelosi said. “But that's not how decisions are made. They're personal and individual and timely in people's lives and in their careers and the contribution that they can make and the opportunity that they have.”