Nancy Pelosi has announced that she will step aside to allow a new leader to take the reins of the House Democratic caucus.
The speaker of the House made a floor speech annoucing her plans just after noon. She has led the Democratic caucus since being elevated to minority leader in 2003, and became the first woman to be Speaker when she was first elected to the role in 2007.
“I will not seek reelection to Democratic leadership in the next Congress,” she said, and while not specifically naming a successor she noted that it was time for a new generation to take the role.
“For me the hour has come for a new generation to lead the Democratic Caucus which I so love,” said Ms Pelosi.
Her replacement is likely to be Hakeem Jeffries, the current chairman of the Democratic caucus, according to reports. Rep Steny Hoyer, the current majority leader, and Rep Jim Clyburn, the whip, both are expected to vie for leadership roles as well.
Ms Pelosi will not step down entirely, however, and will remain in the House of Representatives as a backbencher to allow for Mr Jeffries’s smooth transition.
“My friends, no matter what title you all my colleagues have bestowed upon me, Speaker leader whip. There is no greater official honor for me than to stand on this floor and to speak for the people of San Francisco. This I will continue to do as a member of the House speaking for the people of San Francisco, serving the great state of California and defending our Constitution. and with great confidence in our caucus,” she said.
The development is a victory for voices in the Democratic caucus who have been frustrated with Ms Pelosi’s leadership amid the second impeachment of Donald Trump and throught the January 6 investigation; many, especially progressives, have called for a new generation of leadership to take control in both chambers of Congress.
Her decision comes in stark contrast to the Republican Party, which just reelected Kevin McCarthy and Mitch McConnell as leaders of its respective House and Senate caucuses.