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 PelosiUS expected to announce diplomatic boycott of Beijing Olympics soon: report Pressure grows to remove Boebert from committees Lawmakers remember Bob Dole: 'Bona fide American hero' 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) GottheimerFive takeaways: House passes Biden's sweeping benefits bill Dems brace for score on massive Biden bill Democrats bullish they'll reach finish line this week MORE (N.J.), Jim CostaJames (Jim) Manuel CostaProposed California maps put incumbents in jeopardy Democrats bullish they'll reach finish line this week Moderate Democrats press for score before vote on Biden package MORE (Calif.), Tom O'Halleran (Ariz.), Kurt SchraderWalter (Kurt) Kurt SchraderFive takeaways: House passes Biden's sweeping benefits bill House passes giant social policy and climate measure Democrats press toward vote on massive Biden bill MORE (Ore.), Tom Suozzi (N.Y.), Daniel LipinskiDaniel William LipinskiHouse votes to condemn alleged hysterectomies on migrant women Five things we learned from this year's primaries Hispanic Caucus campaign arm endorses slate of non-Hispanic candidates MORE (Ill.), Stephanie MurphyStephanie MurphyFlorida Republicans debate how far to push congressional remap Five takeaways: House passes Biden's sweeping benefits bill Overnight Energy & Environment — House passes giant climate, social policy bill MORE (Fla.), Vicente González (Texas) and Darren SotoDarren Michael SotoHouse GOP campaign arm expands target list after brutal night for Dems Pennsylvania Republican becomes latest COVID-19 breakthrough case in Congress Mayorkas tests positive for COVID-19 breakthrough case 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.