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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 PelosiOn The Money: McConnell says Congress will take up stimulus package at start of 2021 | Lawmakers see better prospects for COVID deal after election Overnight Health Care: House Dem report blasts Trump coronavirus response | Regeneron halts trial of antibody drug in sickest hospitalized patients | McConnell says Congress will take up stimulus package at start of 2021 McConnell says Congress will take up stimulus package at start of 2021 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. ReedAn investment in R&D is an investment in America's future Pelosi and Trump go a full year without speaking Trump fuels and frustrates COVID-19 relief talks 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) GottheimerLawmakers hope election releases pressure on stimulus talks Trump fuels and frustrates COVID-19 relief talks Trump's illness sparks new urgency for COVID-19 deal MORE (N.J.), Jim CostaJames (Jim) Manuel CostaHouse Democrats call on State Department for information on Uighur prisoner Ekpar Asat Hispanic Caucus requests meeting with private detention center CEOs Black Caucus rallies behind Meeks for Foreign Affairs gavel MORE (Calif.), Tom O'Halleran (Ariz.), Kurt SchraderWalter (Kurt) Kurt SchraderHouse members race to prepare for first-ever remote votes The 14 Democrats who broke with their party on coronavirus relief vote House votes to condemn Trump Medicaid block grant policy MORE (Ore.), Tom Suozzi (N.Y.), Salud CarbajalSalud CarbajalMichigan Republican isolating after positive coronavirus test GOP Rep. Mike Bost tests positive for COVID-19 Democratic Rep. Carbajal tests positive for COVID-19 MORE (Calif.), Dan Lipinski (Ill.), Stephanie MurphyStephanie MurphyDemocrats scramble on COVID-19 relief amid division, Trump surprise Bank lobbying group launches ad backing Collins reelection bid House Democrats call on State Department for information on Uighur prisoner Ekpar Asat MORE (Fla.), Vicente González (Texas) and Darren SotoDarren Michael SotoHouse Democrats introduce bill to invest 0 billion in STEM research and education Radiation elevated at fracking sites, researchers find Hopes for DC, Puerto Rico statehood rise MORE (Fla.), as well as Rep.-elects Susie Lee (Nev.), Jeff Van Drew (N.J.), Ann KirkpatrickAnn KirkpatrickArizona Rep. Tom O'Halleran wins Democratic primary Arizona Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick wins Democratic primary Cook shifts 20 House districts toward Democrats MORE (Ariz.) and Dean Phillips (Minn.).

--Mike Lillis contributed