Nancy Pelosi exits Democratic leadership after losing House: ‘We must move boldly into the future’

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has announced that she’ll leave her role as House Democratic leader after losing the chamber in the midterm elections.

The widely anticipated decision comes after the Democrats managed to fend off the prospect of a red wave in the House and Senate and after an attacker assaulted her husband Paul Pelosi in their home in San Francisco last month. Still, Republicans will hold a narrow majority in the coming Congress.

"The Capitol is a temple of our democracy, of our constitution and our highest ideals," Ms Pelosi said in a speech on the House floor on Thursday.

“The hour has come for a new generation to lead the Democratic caucus,” she said.

“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.”

President Biden spoke with Ms Pelosi on Thursday and congratulated her on her historic tenure as speaker, according to the White House.

In preparing for her ultimate decision, Ms Pelosi on Wednesday night brought home two versions of a speech on her political future.

“Speaker Pelosi has been overwhelmed by calls from colleagues, friends and supporters,” her Deputy Chief of Staff Drew Hammill said late Wednesday in the hours after the Democrats lost control of the lower chamber.

“This evening, the Speaker monitored returns in the three remaining critical states. The Speaker plans to address her future plans tomorrow to her colleagues. Stay tuned.”

Punchbowl News noted that House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries of New York and Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark of Massachusetts are making calls aiming to become a part of the next generation of leaders.

“In the next Congress, House Democrats will continue to play a leading role in supporting President Biden’s agenda — with strong leverage over a scant Republican majority,” Ms Pelosi said in a statement on Wednesday evening, without mentioning her own political future.

After entering the House in 1987, Ms Pelosi became the House Democrat since 2003, serving as speaker between 2007 and 2011 and again from 2019. She’s the first and so far only woman to ever serve as speaker. She has served as a speaker under four presidents: George W Bush, Barack Obama, Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

At the same time, she also gained respect overseas for her willingness to speak out on human rights in China after the Tiananmen Square massacre. Earlier this year, she traveled to Taiwan, making her the highest-ranking American official to do so.

“I was just with her in Egypt at the COP27 delegation and it was a real honour to see her in her best eleements working with global leaders,” Rep Nanette Barragán told The Independent. “So it’s a day to celebrate her accomplishments and to celebrate her record and what she’s done for the country.”

During her first run as speaker, she helped pass the Affordable Care Act, Mr Obama’s signature health care legislation, while during the Trump administration, she served first as minority leader and ensured not a single Democrat defected to repeal the law.

When Democrats won the majority again in 2018, she assumed the speakership once again. During that time, she led Democrats through both impeachments of Mr Trump, passed massive relief packages during the Covid-19 pandemic and maintained order during the riot on the US Capitol on 6 January.

During the Biden presidency, she ensured the passage of the president’s American Rescue Plan to fight the pandemic, his bipartisan infrastructure plan, the CHIPs and Science Act and the Inflation Reduction Act.

Despite her reputation by conservatives as a San Francisco liberal, Ms Pelosi displayed an acute sense of how to corral the most moderate and conservative members of her party alongside the most progressive members. At the same time, she faced numerous challenges to her leadership role throughout her tenure, but none of them posed a serious enough threat.

At the same time, she often faced vicious attacks from the right. During the 6 January riot, would-be insurrectionists were heard calling for her by name.

The next Congress, in which the House is set to be controlled by the GOP, will be seated on 3 January 2023.

The Republicans will now choose the new House leadership. The Speaker is likely to be current House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California.

The GOP finally clinched their 218th seat when the Associated Press issued a projection that Mike Garcia would win California’s 27th district.

Democrats have so far won 209 seats, while counting continues in eight seats.

“In this election, voters spoke clearly about their concerns: the need to lower costs, protect the right to choose, and preserve our democracy,” President Joe Biden said on Wednesday. “I will work with anyone – Republican or Democrat – willing to work with me to deliver results for them.”