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 PelosiHouse votes unanimously to extend deadline for coronavirus small-business loan program Overnight Defense: House panel votes to ban Confederate flag on all Pentagon property | DOD report says Russia working to speed US withdrawal from Afghanistan | 'Gang of Eight' to get briefing on bounties Thursday OVERNIGHT ENERGY: House approves .5T green infrastructure plan | Rubio looks to defense bill to block offshore drilling, but some fear it creates a loophole | DC-area lawmakers push for analysis before federal agencies can be relocated 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) GottheimerGun control group rolls out House endorsements A quiet, overlooked revolution in congressional power Bipartisan Senate group offers new help to state, local governments MORE (N.J.), Jim CostaJames (Jim) Manuel CostaBlack Caucus rallies behind Meeks for Foreign Affairs gavel Let's support and ensure the safety of workers risking so much for us Five factors to watch in the meat supply chain crisis MORE (Calif.), Tom O'Halleran (Ariz.), Kurt SchraderWalter (Kurt) Kurt SchraderHouse members race to prepare for first-ever remote votes The 14 Democrats who broke with their party on coronavirus relief vote House votes to condemn Trump Medicaid block grant policy MORE (Ore.), Tom Suozzi (N.Y.), Daniel LipinskiDaniel William LipinskiHouse to pass sweeping police reform legislation Sanders raised over 0,000 for candidates in Tuesday primaries Engel scrambles to fend off primary challenge from left MORE (Ill.), Stephanie MurphyStephanie MurphyEncouraging a safe business environment can help drive America's recovery The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Former Rep. Delaney says Trump is spewing venom when he should be leading; Protests roil the nation as fears of new virus outbreaks grow Expanding tax credit for businesses retaining workers gains bipartisan support MORE (Fla.), Vicente González (Texas) and Darren SotoDarren Michael SotoFlorida lawmakers press Interior on offshore drilling Activists, analysts demand Congress consider immigrants in coronavirus package Hispanic Democrats demand funding for multilingual coronavirus messaging 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.