Longtime House parliamentarian to step down

Longtime House parliamentarian to step down
© Greg Nash

Longtime House staffer Tom Wickham is stepping down as parliamentarian of the House of Representatives, Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi slams Trump executive order on pre-existing conditions: It 'isn't worth the paper it's signed on' On The Money: Anxious Democrats push for vote on COVID-19 aid | Pelosi, Mnuchin ready to restart talks | Weekly jobless claims increase | Senate treads close to shutdown deadline Trump signs largely symbolic pre-existing conditions order amid lawsuit MORE (D-Calif.) said on Friday.

He will be replaced by Jason SmithJason Thomas SmithWoman says she was fired from Whataburger for wearing Black Lives Matter mask Longtime House parliamentarian to step down Pass the Primary Care Enhancement Act MORE, who serves as the deputy parliamentarian.

In announcing the change, Pelosi praised Wickham as “a master of House rules and procedure, whose incisive legal acumen and absolute professionalism have strengthened the People’s House and benefited the American people whom we serve."

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“In his 25 years of distinguished service,” she said in a statement, “Tom upheld the great Constitutional underpinnings of the historic role of Parliamentarian with excellence and integrity.”

Wickham previously held the roles of assistant parliamentarian and deputy parliamentarian. Then-Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerLongtime House parliamentarian to step down Five things we learned from this year's primaries Bad blood between Pelosi, Meadows complicates coronavirus talks MORE (R-Ohio) gave Wickham the top parliamentarian job in 2012.

As parliamentarian, Wickham’s job is serve as the House’s referee, providing nonpartisan guidance on parliamentary rules and procedures. That’s put him in the middle of some contentious fights between the Democrats and Republicans.

Last summer, Wickham ruled that Pelosi’s floor remarks calling President TrumpDonald John TrumpSteele Dossier sub-source was subject of FBI counterintelligence probe Pelosi slams Trump executive order on pre-existing conditions: It 'isn't worth the paper it's signed on' Trump 'no longer angry' at Romney because of Supreme Court stance MORE’s tweets about four first-term women of color “racist” was out of order. The House, led by Pelosi’s party, then voted to overrule Wickham and her remarks were allowed to remain in the Congressional Record.

Pelosi also had praise for Smith.

“Jason brings outstanding experience, a brilliant legal mind and great rigor of judgment to this historic responsibility, and I am confident that he will uphold and advance the proud traditions of this critical office,” Pelosi said. “As we transition to a new Parliamentarian, we do so committed to fostering diversity in the running of this office and its future leadership.”

Smith is not related to the GOP congressman by the same name, Rep. Jason Smith of Missouri, who is a member of the leadership team.