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 PelosiThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump takes 2020 roadshow to New Mexico This week: House jump-starts effort to prevent shutdown Schumer, Pelosi push Trump to back universal background check bill 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 BecerraTrump administration rolls back Obama-era lightbulb rules 20 states sue Trump administration over Flores rule California leads states in lawsuit over Trump public charge rule MORE (D-Calif.) as “assistant to the Speaker,” and then-Rep. Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenProgressive tax-the-rich push gains momentum Senators pressure Trump to help end humanitarian crisis in Kashmir Democratic candidates are building momentum for a National Climate Bank 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 HoyerThis week: House jump-starts effort to prevent shutdown Words matter, except to Democrats, when it involves impeaching Trump Nadler: Impeachment inquiry a 'made-up term' but it's essentially 'what we are doing' 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 JeffriesWords matter, except to Democrats, when it involves impeaching Trump Democrats face key moment on impeachment drive Top House Democrat walks back remarks contradicting Judiciary on impeachment inquiry MORE (D-N.Y.),  the new Caucus chairman; Marcia FudgeMarcia Louise FudgeHarris wins endorsement of former CBC Chairwoman Marcia Fudge The Hill's Morning Report — DOJ's planned executions stir new debate Here are the 95 Democrats who voted to support impeachment MORE (D-Ohio) and Cedric RichmondCedric Levon RichmondLawmakers weigh responses to rash of ransomware attacks Looking for electability in all the wrong places House Democrat calls for gun control: Cities can ban plastic straws but 'we can't ban assault weapons?' 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.