House

14 House Dems vow to withhold Speaker votes over rule reforms

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.

{mosads}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 Pelosi (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 Reed (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 Gottheimer (N.J.), Jim Costa (Calif.), Tom O’Halleran (Ariz.), Kurt Schrader (Ore.), Tom Suozzi (N.Y.), Salud Carbajal (Calif.), Dan Lipinski (Ill.), Stephanie Murphy (Fla.), Vicente González (Texas) and Darren Soto (Fla.), as well as Rep.-elects Susie Lee (Nev.), Jeff Van Drew (N.J.), Ann Kirkpatrick (Ariz.) and Dean Phillips (Minn.).

–Mike Lillis contributed 

Tags Ann Kirkpatrick Darren Soto Jim Costa Josh Gottheimer Kurt Schrader Nancy Pelosi Salud Carbajal Stephanie Murphy Tom Reed

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