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 PelosiPelosi calls for investigation into reports of mistreatment of pregnant women in DHS custody Wisconsin highlights why states need a bipartisan plan that doesn't include Democrats federalizing elections Pelosi defends push for mail-in voting: GOP 'afraid' to let people vote 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) GottheimerHillicon Valley: Google bans Zoom from its work computers | Dem cautions White House against using surveillance to fight virus | Lawmakers push House leaders on remote voting Lawmakers outline proposals for virtual voting Infrastructure bill gains new steam as coronavirus worsens MORE (N.J.), Jim CostaJames (Jim) Manuel CostaModerate Democrat fends off liberal primary challenge in California  California Rep. Costa endorses Biden Group of House Democrats reportedly attended the White House ball MORE (Calif.), Tom O'Halleran (Ariz.), Kurt SchraderWalter (Kurt) Kurt SchraderHouse votes to condemn Trump Medicaid block grant policy Here are the lawmakers who defected on Iran legislation Group of Democrats floating censure of Trump instead of impeachment: report MORE (Ore.), Tom Suozzi (N.Y.), Daniel LipinskiDaniel William LipinskiThe Hill's Campaign Report: Campaigns scale back amid coronavirus threat Dan Lipinski defeated in Illinois House primary Ocasio-Cortez announces slate of all-female congressional endorsements MORE (Ill.), Stephanie MurphyStephanie MurphyFlorida Democrat hits administration over small business loan rollout Democrats struggle to keep up with Trump messaging on coronavirus Pelosi scrambles to secure quick passage of coronavirus aid MORE (Fla.), Vicente González (Texas) and Darren SotoDarren Michael SotoActivists, analysts demand Congress consider immigrants in coronavirus package Hispanic Democrats demand funding for multilingual coronavirus messaging Hispanic Democrats see Sanders's Latino strategy as road map for Biden 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.