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 Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiMulvaney: Military projects impacted by wall funding haven't been decided yet Left-wing Dems in minority with new approach to spending Julian Castro hints at brother Joaquin's Senate run 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 BecerraDems prepare next steps after Trump's veto Uber to pay million to settle fight over driver benefits, pay Judge blocks Trump administration from adding citizenship question to 2020 census MORE (D-Calif.) as “assistant to the Speaker,” and then-Rep. Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Manafort sentenced to total of 7.5 years in prison Hillicon Valley: Google takes heat at privacy hearing | 2020 Dems to debate 'monopoly power' | GOP rips net neutrality bill | Warren throws down gauntlet over big tech | New scrutiny for Trump over AT&T merger Trump faces new scrutiny over AT&T-Time Warner merger 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 HoyerLawmakers contemplate a tough political sell: Raising their pay Chances of passing Dem budget are '50-50,' says chairman Dems unite against Trump's budget  — but challenges coming 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 JeffriesBipartisan think tank to honor lawmakers who offer 'a positive tenor' GOP leader needles Dems on anti-Semitism resolution Dems under fire put brakes on Omar resolution MORE (D-N.Y.),  the new Caucus chairman; Marcia FudgeMarcia Louise FudgeCongressional Black Caucus faces tough decision on Harris, Booker Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee to step down as CBC Foundation chair amid lawsuit Reporter says to expect Capitol Hill to take action on North Carolina's 9th District MORE (D-Ohio) and Cedric RichmondCedric Levon RichmondGOP lawmaker offers bill letting NCAA athletes profit from their image Exclusive: Biden to run for White House, says Dem lawmaker CPAC attendees say Biden poses greatest threat to Trump 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.