14 House Dems vow to withhold Speaker votes over rule reforms

14 House Dems vow to withhold Speaker votes over rule reforms
© Stefani Reynolds

Fourteen House Democrats are vowing to withhold their votes for Speaker unless the candidate agrees to overhaul House rules, according to an analysis by The Hill.

The list of lawmakers includes 10 Democrats who previously made such a pledge, as well as four congressional candidates who made a similar promise on the campaign trail and won their race on Tuesday.

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With Democrats likely to have somewhere around a 20- to 25-seat majority next year, the group is poised to hold some sway over the selection of the next Speaker. House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi eyes end of April to bring a fourth coronavirus relief bill to the floor Pelosi, Democrats using coronavirus to push for big tax cuts for blue state residents US watchdog vows 'aggressive' oversight after intel official fired MORE (D-Calif.), the likely front-runner to lead the caucus, has reviewed the proposal and is open to making some changes.

The push for rule changes appears to have near-universal support in the conference, with centrist Blue Dog Democrats also calling for an overhaul.

“She has to be inclusive … of the more moderate folks,” Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), a leader of the conservative-leaning Blue Dogs, said Tuesday night.

There are also seven Republicans who won reelection and vowed to trade Speaker votes for an overhaul of the House rules.

Rep. Tom ReedThomas (Tom) W. ReedInfrastructure bill gains new steam as coronavirus worsens Overnight Defense: Pentagon curtails more exercises over coronavirus | House passes Iran war powers measure | Rocket attack hits Iraqi base with US troops House passes measure limiting Trump's ability to take military action against Iran MORE (R-N.Y.), co-chair of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, said he would consider supporting a Democratic Speaker if that candidate agreed to the package. Leaders of the caucus have been working for months to get lawmakers on board with the effort, which they say is an attempt to “break the gridlock” in Washington.

Their proposal includes giving fast-track consideration to any bill with widespread support, making it easier to add amendments to legislation and making it harder for a small group of rebellious lawmakers to oust the Speaker.

The package also would grant members a markup on one piece of legislation per session if it has a co-sponsor from the opposite party, as well as mandate a joint bipartisan meeting at the beginning of every Congress.

The suggested changes are designed to redistribute power, which reform advocates argue is too concentrated at the top, and empower more rank-and-file members in both parties.

The proposal has picked up some steam in recent months, especially as lawmakers grow increasingly frustrated with the gridlock and polarization in Congress.

The 14 Democrats who have made the pledge thus far are Reps. Josh GottheimerJoshua (Josh) GottheimerInfrastructure bill gains new steam as coronavirus worsens Pelosi floats undoing SALT deduction cap in next coronavirus bill NJ lawmaker tests negative for COVID-19 MORE (N.J.), Jim CostaJames (Jim) Manuel CostaModerate Democrat fends off liberal primary challenge in California  California Rep. Costa endorses Biden Group of House Democrats reportedly attended the White House ball MORE (Calif.), Tom O'Halleran (Ariz.), Kurt SchraderWalter (Kurt) Kurt SchraderHouse votes to condemn Trump Medicaid block grant policy Here are the lawmakers who defected on Iran legislation Group of Democrats floating censure of Trump instead of impeachment: report MORE (Ore.), Tom Suozzi (N.Y.), Salud CarbajalSalud CarbajalActivists, analysts demand Congress consider immigrants in coronavirus package Lawmakers with first-hand experience using food stamps call on Trump not to cut program House Democrat: 'Trump needs to give more consideration to the safety of our troops' MORE (Calif.), Dan Lipinski (Ill.), Stephanie MurphyStephanie MurphyPelosi scrambles to secure quick passage of coronavirus aid Sunday shows preview: State governors and top medical officials prepare for next week of COVID-19 response Members of House GOP leadership self-quarantining after first lawmakers test positive MORE (Fla.), Vicente González (Texas) and Darren SotoDarren Michael SotoActivists, analysts demand Congress consider immigrants in coronavirus package Hispanic Democrats demand funding for multilingual coronavirus messaging Hispanic Democrats see Sanders's Latino strategy as road map for Biden MORE (Fla.), as well as Rep.-elects Susie Lee (Nev.), Jeff Van Drew (N.J.), Ann KirkpatrickAnn KirkpatrickHouse Democrats jam GOP with coronavirus bill Eleventh Democratic presidential debate to be held in Phoenix Arizona Democrat to get treatment for alcohol dependence after suffering fall MORE (Ariz.) and Dean Phillips (Minn.).

--Mike Lillis contributed