Luján will have 'assistant Speaker' title

Rep. Ben Ray Luján's (D-N.M.) new title in the next Congress will be "assistant Speaker" instead of "assistant majority leader," House Democratic Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSenate passes .5 billion border bill, setting up fight with House Pelosi: Congress will receive election security briefing in July Trump says he spoke to Pelosi, McConnell on border package MORE (D-Calif.) told rank-and-file members in a closed-door caucus meeting Tuesday, multiple sources in the room told The Hill.

Luján, a staunch Pelosi ally, just came off a successful stint as House Democrats' campaign chairman in the 2018 midterms, where the party picked at least 40 seats to win back the majority in the lower chamber.

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In the meeting, Pelosi made a motion that the change in title be approved by House Democrats by a voice vote, sources said. The motion passed unanimously.

Luján, 46, was elected by his Democratic colleagues last month to be “assistant Democratic leader.” He ran unopposed, and will continue to hold the No. 4-ranked spot in Democratic leadership.

Pelosi created the job the last time Democrats won back the majority, in 2006, as part of a plan to give young rising stars in the party a seat at the leadership table. She named then-Rep. Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraCalifornia now requires background checks for all gun ammo purchases Hillicon Valley: House panel advances election security bill | GOP senator targets YouTube with bill on child exploitation | Hicks told Congress Trump camp felt 'relief' after release of Clinton docs | Commerce blacklists five Chinese tech groups Four more states join attorneys general lawsuit to block T-Mobile-Sprint merger MORE (D-Calif.) as “assistant to the Speaker,” and then-Rep. Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenVan Hollen proposes raising estate tax to boost Social Security Trump planning Air Force One flyover during July 4 celebration at Mall: report Election security bills face GOP buzzsaw MORE (D-Md.) moved into the role a couple years later.

When Democrats lost the majority in 2010, Pelosi allowed Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) to fill the role of “assistant Democratic leader” or “assistant minority leader” in order to keep his spot on the leadership team.

But Democrats got an additional leadership spot, the Speaker, after taking back the majority last month. Democrats nominated Pelosi to return to the Speaker’s office, and they elected Rep. Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerDemocrats already jockeying for House leadership posts House Democratic leaders work to secure votes for border bill Hoyer: House won't move forward on congressional pay bump MORE (D-Md.) to be majority leader; Clyburn to be majority whip; and Luján to be assistant Democratic leader.

Pelosi, who served as Speaker from 2007 to 2011, is now trying to put down an insurrection in her caucus and secure the 218 votes on the House floor she needs to secure the Speaker’s gavel once again. That vote will be held on Jan. 3.

Leadership aides confirmed that Pelosi had sought to change Luján's title, but downplayed the move as insignificant.

“It’s just a simple matter of harmonizing the rules to reflect that we are in the majority,” a Democratic leadership aide said.

Other Democrats in the room, however, saw Pelosi’s action as a way to give a leg up to Luján to succeed her as Speaker after she eventually retires. Other younger leaders who’ve also been floated as future Speakers include Reps. Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesThe Hill's Morning Report - Democratic debates: Miami nice or spice? Democrats already jockeying for House leadership posts House Democrats close to finalizing border aid bill MORE (D-N.Y.),  the new Caucus chairman; Marcia FudgeMarcia Louise FudgeDemocrats already jockeying for House leadership posts Black Democratic lawmaker on Buttigieg: 'Pete has a black problem' Federal employees turn their backs on Agriculture secretary after relocation plans announced MORE (D-Ohio) and Cedric RichmondCedric Levon RichmondDemocrats already jockeying for House leadership posts House hearing marks historic moment for slavery reparations debate Lawmakers demand answers on Border Patrol data breach MORE (D-La.).

Asked if the new title helps position Luján for a future Speaker’s bid, one Democratic lawmaker replied: “Sounds like it.”

--Updated at 11:35 a.m.