Pelosi cuts deal with Problem Solvers on House rules overhaul

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has cut a deal with a small group of Democrats calling for major rules changes next year, according to two Democratic sources familiar with the discussions. 

The breakthrough was later confirmed in a statement from the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus.

“We are pleased to report that, after months of constructive discussions, and a meeting with Ranking Members this morning, we have reached an agreement with Leader Pelosi and Ranking Member McGovern that will help Break the Gridlock,” the statement read.

{mosads}Nine Democrats in the 48-member caucus had vowed to withhold their support for Pelosi — or any other Speaker nominee — unless the candidate commits, in writing, to certain changes in House rules aimed at empowering rank-and-file lawmakers and breaking partisan gridlock.

Unveiled earlier in the year, the group’s rules package consists of 10 proposals designed to ease the passage of popular bipartisan bills that, in recent years, have frequently been ignored.  

The nine Democrats threatening to withhold their Speaker vote had demanded that Pelosi publicly commit to adopting three of the 10 proposals. 

According to the group’s statement, the deal struck Wednesday includes a “consensus calendar” to speed the passage of bills with at least 290 cosponsors and a move to privilege motions to vacate the Speaker’s chair that come from “a major party caucus or conference,” as well as significant changes to the amendment, committee markups and discharge petition processes. 

“This November, voters not only asked for a new party at the helm, but asked for their core issues — health care, immigration, and infrastructure — to get solved,” the Problem Solvers said. “Combined with this new leadership, the rules changes we are announcing today will make the House of Representatives work even better for the American people, and help remove the roadblocks to progress on these core priorities.”

The agreement eliminates what could have been a major barrier to Pelosi’s bid for the Speaker’s gavel next year. Already, a group of Democratic insurgents says it has the numbers to prevent her from winning a majority on the House floor during January’s vote. The insurgents had hoped to pad their numbers with opposition from the Problem Solvers Caucus.

Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D-Ill.), a member of the Problem Solvers Caucus, rejected the notion that the caucus was simply out to topple Pelosi, who faces an early test in her Speaker bid Wednesday as House Democrats meet behind closed doors.

“A lot of people mischaracterize us as an anti-Nancy Pelosi group. Problem Solvers are trying to come up with changes to the House rules that will open up the process, make it a little bit more a bottom up, rather than a top-down, process,” Lipinski said Wednesday morning. 

“That’s what we’re looking to do.”

—Updated at 2:06 p.m.

Tags Daniel Lipinski Nancy Pelosi
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