Pelosi allies push back on proposed Speaker nominee rule change

A group of House Democrats is pushing back against a contentious proposal that would make it tougher for Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiHouse passes bills to pressure China amid Olympic boycott House passes bill to strengthen shipping supply chain Overnight Defense & National Security — Biden: US troops to Ukraine 'not on the table' MORE (D-Calif.) — or any Speaker hopeful — to secure the party’s nomination.

In a “Dear Colleague” letter sent Monday, more than a dozen Pelosi allies urged fellow caucus members to reject the proposed internal rule change, which would significantly raise the threshold that it takes to become the party’s nominee. The group said such a change would undermine “Democratic unity, coherence and effectiveness.”

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“Now that we are finally in the Majority, it will be baffling to the public and self-defeating to block the Caucus’ choice on the floor, either through a formal change to the Rules or an informal abandonment of the Caucus,” the lawmakers wrote. "We should stand by the Rules which have served us well rather than alter our long-standing Rules and court strategic mischief and endless ballots."     

The letter is signed by 14 House Democrats, including Reps. Lois FrankelLois Jane FrankelDemocrats repeal prohibition on funding abortions abroad Investing in child care paves the way to a better economy Democrats introduce equal pay legislation for US national team athletes MORE (Fla.), Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellHomicide Victims' Families' Rights Act will renew our commitment to support crime victims GOP infighting takes stupid to a whole new level The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden to update Americans on omicron; Congress back MORE (Calif.), Jan SchakowskyJanice (Jan) Danoff SchakowskyModerate Democrats press for score before vote on Biden package Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by American Clean Power — Democrats prepare to grill oil execs Merkley, Warren and Markey sound alarm over 'dirty' hydrogen provision in climate deal MORE (Ill.), Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinJan. 6 panel faces new test as first witness pleads the Fifth House progressives urge Garland to intervene in ex-environmental lawyer Steven Donziger's case Trump allies leaning on his executive privilege claims MORE (Md.) and Doris MatsuiDoris Okada MatsuiOvernight Health Care — Presented by The National Council for Mental Wellbeing — FDA panel advises Moderna booster shot for high-risk people Hillicon Valley — Presented by American Edge Project — Americans blame politicians, social media for spread of misinformation: poll Biden signs bill to strengthen K-12 school cybersecurity MORE (Calif.).

“It is also troubling to hear reports that Members are being urged to repudiate the choice of the Caucus before we have even met. Just as Nancy Pelosi’s supporters should fairly hear out other candidates, her skeptics should hear her out too,” they said.

The proposal in question would have required any Democrat seeking the Speaker’s gavel to secure 218 votes during the closed-door caucus vote that occurs prior to a public floor vote with the entire House. The current threshold for winning the nomination requires just a simple majority of the caucus.

The idea was championed by a small yet vocal group of Democratic insurgents who are fighting for generational change at the very top of the party and want to nudge the 78-year-old Pelosi out of the leadership ranks.

Initially, 11 Democrats signed a letter pushing for the rule change before the midterm elections, but they ultimately withdrew their effort for the sake of party unity. Last week, nine Democrats again signed on to a similar letter.

Rep. Ed PerlmutterEdwin (Ed) George PerlmutterGroup aligned with House GOP leadership targeting nine Democrats on spending vote House GOP campaign arm expands target list after brutal night for Dems Equilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by Southern Company — China's president to video in for climate confab MORE (D-Colo.), a Pelosi opponent who sponsored the internal rule change, said it's unclear if his amendment will receive a vote ahead of the leadership elections, which are scheduled for Nov. 28.

"That remains to be seen ... whether we even take a vote on Rule 34 or not," he said. "What I asked for is that we have a discussion about it next week. … Not a vote, a discussion.”

His amendment would also change the language of the current rule to reflect that, when a majority of the caucus votes to pick the Speaker nominee, it does not bind all members to support that nominee on the floor.

Mike Lillis contributed.