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 Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiElise Stefanik seeks to tackle GOP’s women ‘crisis’ ahead of 2020 Our legislators must commit to making children a priority Dreamer: Dems 'should absolutely not' take Trump's immigration deal 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. ReedA rare display of real political courage Overnight Health Care: Dems hit GOP with ObamaCare lawsuit vote | GOP seeks health care reboot after 2018 losses | House Dems aim for early victories on drug pricing | CDC declares lettuce e-coli outbreak over Dems hit GOP on health care with additional ObamaCare lawsuit vote 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) GottheimerOcasio-Cortez, freshmen poised to take on Wall Street Pelosi pulls State of the Union surprise on Trump Reconstruction redux MORE (N.J.), Jim CostaJames (Jim) Manuel CostaTrump tells FEMA not to send more money to California for forest fires GOP-controlled Senate breaks with Trump on Saudi vote WHIP LIST: Pelosi seeks path to 218 MORE (Calif.), Tom O'Halleran (Ariz.), Kurt SchraderWalter (Kurt) Kurt SchraderThe new Democratic Congress has an opportunity to move legislation to help horses The 15 Democrats who voted against Pelosi Live coverage: House elects new Speaker as Dems take charge MORE (Ore.), Tom Suozzi (N.Y.), Salud CarbajalSalud CarbajalDems introduce bills to block offshore drilling Both sides bullish as Pelosi's Speaker fight heats up 14 House Dems vow to withhold Speaker votes over rule reforms MORE (Calif.), Dan Lipinski (Ill.), Stephanie MurphyStephanie MurphyTrump snubs highlight Pelosi’s grip on Dems On The Money: Shutdown Day 25 | Dems reject White House invite for talks | Leaders nix recess with no deal | McConnell blocks second House Dem funding bill | IRS workers called back for tax-filing season | Senate bucks Trump on Russia sanctions Democrats turn down White House invitation for shutdown talks MORE (Fla.), Vicente González (Texas) and Darren SotoDarren Michael SotoWashington must defend American crypto innovation, not crush it Fight brews over felons’ voting rights in Florida Problem Solvers Dems urge Pelosi to publicly back three rules changes MORE (Fla.), as well as Rep.-elects Susie Lee (Nev.), Jeff Van Drew (N.J.), Ann KirkpatrickAnn KirkpatrickHispanic Caucus sets red lines on DHS spending bill Dem women rally behind Pelosi Arizona New Members 2019 MORE (Ariz.) and Dean Phillips (Minn.).

--Mike Lillis contributed