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 PelosiRomney: Trump asking Ukraine to investigate political rival 'would be troubling in the extreme' Pelosi: Whistleblower complaint 'must be addressed immediately' Democrats must embrace Israel and denounce anti-Semitism in the party 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. ReedOvernight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Walmart to stop selling e-cigarettes | Senators press FDA to pull most e-cigarettes immediately | House panel tees up e-cig hearing for next week Reed thanks well wishers, will return to work Monday after collapse GOP Rep. Tom Reed collapses just before television appearance 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) GottheimerThe Hill's Morning Report - US coastline readies for Hurricane Dorian to make landfall Swing-seat Democrats oppose impeachment, handing Pelosi leverage Republicans plot comeback in New Jersey MORE (N.J.), Jim CostaJames (Jim) Manuel CostaBiden leads in 2020 endorsements House GOP secures last-minute change to gun bill Trump tells FEMA not to send more money to California for forest fires MORE (Calif.), Tom O'Halleran (Ariz.), Kurt SchraderWalter (Kurt) Kurt SchraderHere are the Democrats who aren't co-sponsoring an assault weapons ban Blue Dog Democrats urge action on election security The Hill's Morning Report: Trump walks back from 'send her back' chants MORE (Ore.), Tom Suozzi (N.Y.), Salud CarbajalSalud CarbajalHispanic Democrats: ICE raids designed to distract from Trump ties to Epstein Democrats wary of Trump's 'erratic' approach to Iran WHIP LIST: The 132 House Democrats backing an impeachment inquiry MORE (Calif.), Dan Lipinski (Ill.), Stephanie MurphyStephanie MurphyPelosi to introduce plan to lower cost of prescription drugs: report Democrats ignore Asian American and Pacific Islander voters at their peril Blue Dog Democrats urge action on election security MORE (Fla.), Vicente González (Texas) and Darren SotoDarren Michael SotoTwo years after Maria, Puerto Rico awaits disaster funds House passes temporary immigration protections for Venezuelans House fails to pass temporary immigration protections for Venezuelans MORE (Fla.), as well as Rep.-elects Susie Lee (Nev.), Jeff Van Drew (N.J.), Ann KirkpatrickAnn KirkpatrickSwing-seat Democrats oppose impeachment, handing Pelosi leverage McSally gets new primary challenger Two Democrats vow to press forward on Trump impeachment MORE (Ariz.) and Dean Phillips (Minn.).

--Mike Lillis contributed