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 PelosiMoulton drops out of presidential race after struggling to gain traction Conservatives push Trump tariff relief over payroll tax cuts Democrats press FBI, DHS on response to white supremacist violence 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 FrankelDemocratic Women's Caucus calls for investigation into Epstein plea deal Epstein death sparks questions for federal government Attorney General Barr 'appalled' by Epstein death in federal custody MORE (Fla.), Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellInslee seeking third term as governor after ending presidential bid The Hill's Morning Report - Trump touts new immigration policy, backtracks on tax cuts Inslee drops out of 2020 presidential race MORE (Calif.), Jan SchakowskyJanice (Jan) Danoff SchakowskyLawmakers jump-start talks on privacy bill The Hill's Morning Report — Mueller testimony gives Trump a boost as Dems ponder next steps On The Money: House to vote on budget deal Thursday | US, China resuming trade talks next week | Mnuchin backs DOJ tech antitrust probe MORE (Ill.), Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinHouse panel investigating decision to resume federal executions Pelosi, allies seek to keep gun debate focused on McConnell Pelosi backers feel vindicated after tumultuous stretch MORE (Md.) and Doris MatsuiDoris Okada MatsuiLawmakers urge DNC to name Asian American debate moderator Lobbying World House bill would make World Cup funds contingent on equal pay 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 PerlmutterAppetite for Democratic term limits fizzling out Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers struggle to understand Facebook's Libra project | EU hits Amazon with antitrust probe | New cybersecurity concerns over census | Robocall, election security bills head to House floor | Privacy questions over FaceApp On The Money: Liberal Dems warn moderates against changes to minimum wage bill | House grapples with Facebook's Libra | Congress, White House inch closer to budget deal | Blue states sue over tax law regulations 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.