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 Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump, Dems eye next stage in Mueller fight After Mueller, Democrats need to avoid the Javert trap More than a half-million web articles published on Russia, Trump, Mueller since investigation began: analysis 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 FrankelOvernight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — FDA issues proposal to limit sales of flavored e-cigs | Trump health chief gets grilling | Divisions emerge over House drug pricing bills | Dems launch investigation into short-term health plans Dems call on Trump to fire Acosta Lawmakers wear white to State of the Union to show solidarity with women MORE (Fla.), Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellTrump campaign slams Dems for 'collusion hoax' Conservatives wage assault on Mueller report Swalwell on Hicks testimony: 'She's going to have to tell us who she lied for' in Trump admin MORE (Calif.), Jan SchakowskyJanice (Jan) Danoff SchakowskyDems seek to stifle primary challenges to incumbents Hillicon Valley: EU hits Google with .7 billion antitrust fine | GOP steps up attack over tech bias claims | Dems ask FTC for budget wishlist | Justices punt on Google privacy settlement Dems ask FTC if it needs more money to protect privacy MORE (Ill.), Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinEx-Georgia candidate calls for probe, says more than a hundred thousand votes went 'missing' Dems struggle to turn page on Omar controversy Schumer: Trump 'redefined chutzpah' by calling Dems an 'anti-Jewish party' MORE (Md.) and Doris MatsuiDoris Okada MatsuiDem chair offers bill to crack down on robocalls Pelosi allies push back on proposed Speaker nominee rule change Congress must protect eye care patients from frightful prescriptions 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 PerlmutterTime to bank the unbanked legal marijuana industry in this nation New push to open banks to marijuana industry Businesses need bank accounts — marijuana shops included 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.