Today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced in a speech on the House floor that she won’t seek another term as leader of the House Democratic caucus, concluding a two-decade run as both Minority Leader and Speaker.
Pelosi will, however, continue to represent California’s 12th District in the House.
“I will not seek re-election to Democratic leadership in the next Congress,” Pelosi declared in a speech carried live on cable networks. “For me the hour has come for a new generation to lead the Democratic caucus that I so deeply respect.”
Her caucus rose repeatedly to laud her with standing ovations as Pelosi smiled.
Pelosi’s deputy, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, intends to follow her example and exit leadership, paving the way for younger members to take over, like Hakeem Jeffries of New York and Kathleen Clark of Massachusetts.
Pelosi spoke to President Joe Biden this morning about her decision before announcing her plans on the House floor. The White House released a lengthy statement from Biden not long after the speech concluded praising Pelosi:
When I think of Nancy Pelosi, I think of dignity.
History will note she is the most consequential Speaker of the House of Representatives in our history.
There are countless examples of how she embodies the obligation of elected officials to uphold their oath to God and country to ensure our democracy delivers and remains a beacon to the world. In everything she does, she reflects a dignity in her actions and a dignity she sees in the lives of the people of this nation.
In 2007, she made history as the first woman Speaker, but that was just the beginning of the history she has made during her four terms. I know because I’ve seen her in action during my career as Senator, Vice President, and now as President. With Nancy, you see a father’s daughter who learned by his side how to win and govern. With her leading the way, you never worry about whether a bill will pass. If she says she has the votes, she has the votes. Every time.
History will record her leadership with President Obama to rescue the economy in crisis from the Great Recession.
With her sheer will, passing the Affordable Care Act to ensure health care is a right not a privilege. Ending Don’t Ask Don’t Tell so patriotic Americans can serve the country they love no matter who they love. The list goes on, including her leadership in defending democracy and advancing human rights around the world.
In the first two years of my presidency, she is a singular force securing once-in-a-generation bills that will define our nation for decades to come. The American Rescue Plan to get us through COVID-19. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to rebuild our roads and bridges. The CHIPS and Science Act to ensure the most advanced manufacturing is done here in America.
The most significant gun safety law in nearly thirty years – for the children. One of the most significant bills helping veterans and their families exposed to toxic materials. And, the Inflation Reduction Act that took on Big Pharma and won, and reflects the most aggressive action ever to tackle the climate crisis.
Because of Nancy Pelosi, the lives of millions and millions of Americans are better, even in districts represented by Republicans who voted against her bills and too often vilify her. That’s Nancy – always working for the dignity of all of the people. And, as a fierce defender of democracy through our laws, history will also note her fierceness and resolve to protect our democracy from the violent, deadly insurrection of January 6th. It’s a threat of political violence and intimidation that continues and she and her family know all too well, but that will never stop her from serving our nation.
She might be stepping down from her leadership role in the House Democratic Caucus, but she will never waiver in protecting our sacred democracy.
Nancy Pelosi is first, last, and always for the people. Jill and I count Nancy, Paul, and their family among our dearest friends. As a nation, we owe her a deep debt of gratitude for her service, her patriotism, and above all, her absolute dignity.
Pelosi’s legacy also extends to a long list of bills that were passed by the House but died in the Senate: bills to strengthen voting rights, protect Dreamers, uphold reproductive rights, advance climate justice, reform policing, and much more. Again and again, during eight years as Speaker, Pelosi marshaled the votes needed to address the country’s problems in the House of Representatives.
As Minority Leader, Pelosi kept her caucus disciplined and unified, supplying votes to keep the federal government open when Republicans failed to govern.
Her twenty-year run as Democratic Leader overlapped with four presidencies: those of George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Donald Trump, and Joe Biden.
Democrats had a trifecta for only four of those years (2009, 2010, 2021, 2022). Those were times of productivity and progress rather than gridlock.
Pelosi’s leadership was crucial to making the xth Congress and the current 117th Congress successful. She isn’t done yet, either: The House will soon be voting on final passage of the Respect for Marriage Act and bills to bolster American democracy and the country’s finances against threats on the horizon.
The votes will be there — because Pelosi will have counted them. No one is better at counting votes and moving legislation through the House than Speaker Pelosi.
Our team at NPI thanks Speaker Pelosi for her tremendous contributions to our country. As she said, quoting Scripture, for everything, there is a season. The time is right to pass the baton to a new generation of leadership and celebrate an incredible run that secured the passage of legislation American families needed.