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 PelosiThe Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan Frustration boils over with Senate's 'legislative graveyard' Trump-Pelosi fight threatens drug pricing talks 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 — Senators unveil sweeping bipartisan health care package | House lawmakers float Medicare pricing reforms | Dems offer bill to guarantee abortion access Republicans amp up attacks on Tlaib's Holocaust comments Overnight Health Care: Biden backs Medicare buy-in | New warnings as measles cases surpass record | House Dems propose M to study gun violence prevention MORE (Fla.), Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellHouse Intelligence enjoys breakthrough with Justice Department Hillicon Valley: Assange hit with 17 more charges | Facebook removes record 2.2B fake profiles | Senate passes anti-robocall bill | Senators offer bill to help companies remove Huawei equipment On The Money: Senate passes disaster aid bill after deal with Trump | Trump to offer B aid package for farmers | House votes to boost retirement savings | Study says new tariffs to double costs for consumers MORE (Calif.), Jan SchakowskyJanice (Jan) Danoff SchakowskyHouse Dem cites transgender grandson in voting for Equality Act Dems plan 12-hour marathon Mueller report reading at Capitol US should be producing the HIV prevention drug its research helped create MORE (Ill.), Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinHouse progressive: Pelosi 'has it right' on impeachment House Democrats press leaders to start Trump impeachment WHIP LIST: Democrats who support an impeachment inquiry against President Trump MORE (Md.) and Doris MatsuiDoris Okada MatsuiThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by Pass USMCA Coalition — Trump: GOP has `clear contrast' with Dems on immigration We can accelerate a cure for Alzheimer's Overnight Energy: John Kerry hits Trump over climate change at hearing | Defends Ocasio-Cortez from GOP attacks | Dems grill EPA chief over auto emissions rollback plan 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 PerlmutterColorado governor says he won't sign bill that aims to increase vaccination rates without key changes Congress can open financial institutions to legal cannabis industry with SAFE Banking Act 20 years after Columbine, Dems bullish on gun reform 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.