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Pelosi stepping down from House leadership, will remain in Congress

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks at her weekly press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on June 16, 2022. (Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS)
November 17, 2022

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced she will not seek reelection to lead House Democrats as Republicans take control of that chamber following the midterm elections.

Pelosi announced she will go on only as a representative of her district in San Francisco in a speech before a packed House of Representatives Thursday.

“With great confidence in our caucus, I will not seek reelection to Democratic leadership in the next Congress,” she said, calling for “a new generation to lead the Democratic caucus that I so deeply respect, and I’m grateful that so many are ready and willing to shoulder this awesome responsibility.”

Her replacement, who will serve as minority leader under a Republican Speaker of the House, is not yet clear. Democrats are set to elect new leadership on Nov. 30, according to The Hill.

Republicans have nominated California Rep. Kevin McCarthy to be next Speaker, the New York Times reported, but he still needs to be elected by the new Congress when it convenes in January.

Pelosi, 82, has spent nearly 20 years at the top of the Democratic Party in the House of Representatives, spending eight of those years as the first woman ever elected Speaker of the House. When she wasn’t the Speaker, she was House minority leader.

To clinch votes needed for her to retake the speakership in 2018, Pelosi made a non-binding agreement with members of her own party that she would not serve as House leader after 2022. When asked about that unofficial term limit in 2020, she signaled she was still willing to abide by it, Roll Call reported.

However, in recent days, President Joe Biden personally encouraged Pelosi to stay, POLITICO reported, and Sen. Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader in the Senate, told the outlet he hopes she sticks around, too.

Pelosi, who was the Democratic leader under four presidents, said during her speech that she had “enjoyed working with three presidents.” Skipping former President Donald Trump, a bitter rival, she listed accomplishments she was proud to have made with presidents George Bush, Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

“Now we must move boldly into the future, grounded by the principles that have propelled us this far, and open to fresh possibilities for the future,” she said.

This was a breaking news story. The details were periodically updated as more information became available.