December 14, 2021
Joel B. Pollak
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) promised Democrats in 2018 that she would only lead her caucus for two more terms if she was elected by her caucus after the party won the 2018 midterm elections.
She now appears ready to break that promise, according to reports.
In December 2018, exactly four years ago, Roll Call reported:
Under an agreement reached with seven Democrats who opposed her speaker bid, Pelosi will back term limits for the top three Democratic leaders. The limit she has agreed to will prevent her from serving as speaker beyond another four years.
“This proposal, which was developed by Members who care about the institution of the House of Representatives, would provide that Members in senior leadership positions can serve 3 terms with an additional term with two-thirds support of the Caucus,” Pelosi said in a statement. “It would include the two terms of the Democratic Majority from 2007 to 2011.”
The proposal will be brought before the Democratic Caucus for a discussion and a vote by Feb. 15, the California Democrat said.
“I am comfortable with the proposal and it is my intention to abide by it whether it passes or not,” Pelosi said.
Yet CNN reported Sunday evening:
Speaker Nancy Pelosi will stay until at least after the midterm elections, extending her nearly 20-year run as the House’s top Democrat after she turns 82 and, perhaps, beyond.
She is planning to file and run for reelection in her San Francisco district next year — at least for now — in keeping with her pattern of deciding about staying in Congress after the elections, when she likely will have won an 18th full term.
And sources familiar with Pelosi’s thinking say she isn’t ruling out the possibility of trying to stay in leadership after 2022, despite her original vow to leave as the top House Democrat. She’ll devote much of next year to raising money for Democrats as they try to hold their narrow majority, those sources tell CNN, adding to the nearly $1 billion her office calculates she has already raised for Democrats in her time as leader.
Pelosi’s promise was key to securing the support of hard-left “progressives” like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), who had initially seemed to oppose Pelosi’s bid to take the gavel back.
Her only chance of keeping her promise is to lead her party to defeat — and even then, she may still vie to lead House Democrats, as she did after losing the House in 2010.