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 PelosiCongress digs in for prolonged Saudi battle Disputed North Carolina race raises prospect of congressional probe The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by T-Mobile — The political currents that will drive the shutdown showdown 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

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) GottheimerReconstruction redux Dems play ‘Let’s make a deal’ with Nancy Pelosi Problem Solvers Dems urge Pelosi to publicly back three rules changes MORE (N.J.), Jim CostaJames (Jim) Manuel CostaWHIP LIST: Pelosi seeks path to 218 Problem Solvers Dems urge Pelosi to publicly back three rules changes Problem Solvers Dems: We 'cannot support' Pelosi for Speaker 'at this time' MORE (Calif.), Tom O'Halleran (Ariz.), Kurt SchraderWalter (Kurt) Kurt SchraderWHIP LIST: Pelosi seeks path to 218 Problem Solvers Dems urge Pelosi to publicly back three rules changes Problem Solvers Dems: We 'cannot support' Pelosi for Speaker 'at this time' MORE (Ore.), Tom Suozzi (N.Y.), Daniel LipinskiDaniel William LipinskiPelosi cuts deal with Problem Solvers on House rules overhaul Problem Solvers Dems urge Pelosi to publicly back three rules changes Problem Solvers Dems: We 'cannot support' Pelosi for Speaker 'at this time' MORE (Ill.), Stephanie MurphyStephanie MurphyProblem Solvers Dems urge Pelosi to publicly back three rules changes Problem Solvers Dems: We 'cannot support' Pelosi for Speaker 'at this time' 14 House Dems vow to withhold Speaker votes over rule reforms MORE (Fla.), Vicente González (Texas) and Darren SotoDarren Michael SotoProblem Solvers Dems urge Pelosi to publicly back three rules changes Problem Solvers Dems: We 'cannot support' Pelosi for Speaker 'at this time' 14 House Dems vow to withhold Speaker votes over rule reforms 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.