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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 PelosiTrump White House associate tied to Proud Boys before riot via cell phone data Greene sounds off on GOP after Hill story 'Bloody Sunday' to be commemorated for first time without John Lewis MORE (D-Calif.) said on Friday.

He will be replaced by Jason SmithJason Thomas SmithHouse panel advances Biden's .9T COVID-19 aid bill On The Money: House panel spars over GameStop, Robinhood | Manchin meets with advocates for wage | Yellen says go big, GOP says hold off GOP highlights unspent relief funds in criticizing Biden plan 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 BoehnerThree ways James Kvaal can lead postsecondary education forward Boehner book jacket teases slams against Cruz, Trump Cruz hits back at Boehner for telling him to 'go f--- yourself' 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 TrumpUS, South Korea reach agreement on cost-sharing for troops Graham: Trump can make GOP bigger, stronger, or he 'could destroy it' Biden nominates female generals whose promotions were reportedly delayed under Trump 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.