Problem Solvers Dems: We 'cannot support' Pelosi for Speaker 'at this time'

A band of Democrats who are demanding House rule reforms have yet to reach a deal with Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiOn The Money: Senate Dems to introduce resolution blocking Trump emergency declaration | Banks made billion in extra profits thanks to GOP tax law | IRS analyst charged with leaking Cohen's financial records Coast Guard lieutenant accused of planning domestic terrorism denied bail Inviting Kim Jong Un to Washington MORE (D-Calif.), the group announced Friday, putting up a potential roadblock in Pelosi’s quest to reclaim the Speaker’s gavel.

Nine Democrats on the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus have vowed to withhold their votes for Speaker unless the candidate agrees to overhaul the House rules. Pelosi, who has been open to such changes, met with the group last week and promised to put in writing the changes to which she would commit.

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But the Democrats say they have yet to receive any specific commitments, calling the situation a “stalemate”. They had initially requested a response by last Friday but agreed to give the California Democrat a few more days.

“While we appreciate Leader Pelosi’s broad commitment to our effort, we have yet to receive specific commitments to our proposed rules changes that would help ‘Break the Gridlock’ and allow for true bipartisan governing in this new era of divided government,” the Democrats said in a statement provided to The Hill.

“Although we are at a stalemate in our discussions, and therefore cannot support Leader Pelosi for Speaker at this time, we will keep working with the Leader and others in hope of reaching consensus on specific rules changes for more bipartisan, common sense governing.”

An aide to Pelosi said negotiations are ongoing.

The Democrats who signed onto the statement are Reps. Josh GottheimerJoshua (Josh) GottheimerDem rep says party does not need a divide on diversity, financial platforms Dem rep says bipartisanship needed 'now more than ever' The Hill's Morning Report — Trump complicates border wall negotiations MORE (N.J.), Jim CostaJames (Jim) Manuel CostaTrump tells FEMA not to send more money to California for forest fires GOP-controlled Senate breaks with Trump on Saudi vote WHIP LIST: Pelosi seeks path to 218 MORE (Calif.), Tom O'Halleran (Ariz.), Kurt SchraderWalter (Kurt) Kurt SchraderThe new Democratic Congress has an opportunity to move legislation to help horses The 15 Democrats who voted against Pelosi Live coverage: House elects new Speaker as Dems take charge MORE (Ore.), Tom Suozzi (N.Y.), Daniel LipinskiDaniel William Lipinski5 House Dems likely to attract primary challengers Abortion foes march into divided Washington Progressives to target Dem reps in 2020 primary fights MORE (Ill.), Stephanie MurphyStephanie MurphyTrump snubs highlight Pelosi’s grip on Dems On The Money: Shutdown Day 25 | Dems reject White House invite for talks | Leaders nix recess with no deal | McConnell blocks second House Dem funding bill | IRS workers called back for tax-filing season | Senate bucks Trump on Russia sanctions Democrats turn down White House invitation for shutdown talks MORE (Fla.), Vicente González (Texas) and Darren SotoDarren Michael SotoRecord profits put new bull’s-eye on tech giants Hispanic Dems announce task forces for 116th Congress Puerto Rico statehood supporters pin hopes on House action MORE (Fla.).

Schrader was also among 15 other Democrats who earlier promised to vote against Pelosi on the House floor. Together, the groups could have the numbers to block her ascension.

But Pelosi has already cut a number of deals this week to win over her detractors, and she has plenty of time to propose a package of rule reforms and win over remaining holdouts.

Pelosi only needs a simple majority to become the party’s nominee for Speaker during the closed-door caucus vote on Wednesday. The floor vote in January is when Pelosi needs the majority of the entire House, or 218 votes.   

The Problem Solvers rules package consists of 10 proposals designed to empower individual members and grease the skids for passage of popular bipartisan bills that, in recent years, have frequently been ignored.  

Central to their reforms is a proposal requiring a supermajority vote — three-fifths of the House — to pass any legislation brought to the floor under a closed rule, and another ensuring fast-track consideration of any bill co-sponsored by at least two-thirds of the chamber.

It also proposes changes designed to prevent a small group of hard-liners from using threats to “vacate the chair” as a bludgeon to keep certain legislation off the floor, as the far-right Freedom Caucus has done in recent years.

--Updated at 1:10 p.m.