Report: Nancy Pelosi Barters Self Term Limit to Appease Critics, Retake Speakership

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (L), D-California, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (R), D-New York, speak to students from DC, Maryland and Virginia during a rally in their Solidarity Walk-Out to urge Republican leaders in Congress "to allow votes on gun violence prevention legislation" on Capitol Hill in Washington, …

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) might be ready to exchange term limits on committee chairmanships and party leadership — including her own — to regain the Speaker’s gavel on January 3 when Democrats take back the majority in the House.

The idea of terms limits first surfaced in October, as Breitbart News reported.

Pelosi told the Los Angeles Times that while she intends to be Speaker of the House if Democrats win the midterm elections, she might consider limiting her time in office.

The Times reported:

Democrats have yet to win a House majority and Nancy Pelosi’s return as speaker is by no means certain, but already she has one eye on the exits.

“I see myself as a transitional figure,” Pelosi said in an interview in which she professed utmost confidence that, should Democrats take control of the chamber on Nov. 6, she will again assume the top leadership position. “I have things to do. Books to write; places to go; grandchildren, first and foremost, to love.”

She hastened to add she was not imposing a limit on her tenure. 

“Do you think I would make myself a lame duck right here over this double-espresso?” the San Francisco Democrat said Thursday in a downtown Miami cafe, with a raised eyebrow and a laugh.

The latest proposal for limiting her term and others is part of ongoing negotiations with a group of Democrats who have said they would not support Pelosi because they want the next generation of the party to head the committees and the leadership, including replacing Pelosi, 78, as House Majority Leader. If she wins,  Pelosi would lead the party, with her picks of Steny Hoyer, 79, and James Clyburn, 78, as House Majority Leader and House Majority Whip, respectively.

On Monday the Washington Post reported that Pelosi was in “advanced negotiations with critics inside her party.”

Despite presiding over a 40-seat midterm pickup last month, Pelosi (D-Calif.) has been dogged by internal opposition from a handful of Democratic lawmakers and incoming freshmen who have long agitated for new party leadership.

The talks were confirmed by three Democrats familiar with the negotiations but not authorized to discuss them ahead of a final agreement. Two of the Democrats said that, while progress has been made, no deal is imminent.

“A few steps forward, a few steps back,” one person said in describing the talks.

Politico first reported the negotiations on Monday.

The deal, if accepted, would be a “compromise” between rebel demands that Pelosi put an end date on her leadership and the California Democrat’s insistence that she won’t make herself a lame duck speaker.

Several members of the anti-Pelosi group discussed the potential deal on a conference call Monday morning but nothing was agreed to, according to multiple sources. The details are still being worked out, the Democratic sources said, but a final deal could come together as soon as Monday afternoon.

While Pelosi can’t bind Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Assistant Democratic Leader Jim Clyburn (D-SC) or other senior Democrats to such a measure, her support — or even benign neutrality — could be a major plus for term-limits backers inside the Democratic Caucus.

Politico noted that House Democrats would have to include the deal as part of the rules package put in place as the 116th Congress is assembled.

Follow Penny Starr on Twitter


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.