President Donald Trump is jumping in to offer some help, saying Saturday that he could perform a wonderful service by rounding up Republican votes for Pelosis candidacy. Trump says he genuinely likes Pelosi and looks forward to working with her, but its an almost unheard of proposition for the party that relied on the California Democrat as a chief villain on the campaign trail.
I would help Nancy Pelosi if she needs some votes, Trump told reporters as he left the White House for a trip to survey the devastation from the California wildfires. I like her, can you believe it? I like Nancy Pelosi. Shes tough and shes smart, but she deserves to be speaker, and now theyre playing games with her, just like theyll be playing with me.
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Pelosi, who was the first woman to become speaker and served from 2007 to 2011, was certain that she will hold that post again. Last week she dismissed a suggestion that she could rely on Republican support to help amass the House majority needed in January when Democrats take control of the chamber after this months election victory.
Trump went so far Saturday to tweet the name of one Republican congressman, Rep. Tom Reed of New York, who has said he could be open to backing Pelosi if she committed to changes that would shift some power from the House leadership. Reed is a part of the Problem Solvers Caucus, whose members have broached the idea as a show of bipartisanship to help reform Congress. Reed welcomed Trumps tweet Saturday even though GOP lawmakers considering endorsing Pelosi would open themselves up criticism in their 2020 re-election bids for daring to support someone their base has reviled.
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The president understands Congress is broken, said Reeds spokesman Will, Reinert. Reed has said for months hes open to voting for anyone who promises to reform the House of Representatives for the American people.
Leader Pelosi will win the speakership with Democratic votes, her spokesman Drew Hammill said Saturday.
Trump’s unlikely support comes as Pelosi faces a tough path to regaining the gavel — which she held between 2007-11, the last time Democrats controlled the House. While Pelosi had said she is “confident” she will be speaker, at least 17 House Democrats have signed onto a document saying they won’t support her. Meanwhile, Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, is mulling a leadership challenge and said she will announce her decision after Thanksgiving.
Pelosi was expected to work the phones from California during the break after meeting privately with newly elected Democrats who could be crucial to her bid. Her foes were equally confident they have the votes to stop her ascension.
For now, its a band of disgruntled Democrats, led mostly by men, in the forefront of the opposition. With a test vote looming in late November, and at least one potential Pelosi challenger stepping forward, Democrats are facing the uncomfortable prospect of the internal squabble that the speakers vote Jan. 3 could drag on for weeks.
I think chaos is good if its productive. I think chaos is bad if it is too disruptive and it divides us too much, said Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., a co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, whose leaders were upbeat after meeting with Pelosi this past week.
Newly elected lawmakers indicated they were having good meetings with the leader, though few said the talks had changed their minds.
It isnt about her, its about wanting new leadership, said Rep.-elect Abigail Spanberger of Virginia, a former CIA operative who defeated tea party Republican Rep. Dave Brat in suburban Richmond. There isnt anything she could say, because the decision isnt about her.
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Rep.-elect Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey said he had a pleasant meeting, but remains a no on Pelosi. He is among 17 Democrats who have signed on to a letter opposing her. Van Drew said they discussed his districts and which committees hed like to serve on. I dont feel under pressure, he said.
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Pelosi also has met with Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, a potential rival for the speakership who said the two had a very open and frank discussion.
In other words, if you can imagine a new, draconian restriction on guns, gun owners, firearm parts and accessories, or ammunition, expect it to not only be introduced, but to be given a hearing. Also expect the anti-gun legacy media to openly fawn over these efforts. The same goes for any old proposals that have already been introduced and rejected, or even implemented and later repealed or abandoned after proving to be ineffective.
To her credit, she wanted to know what my concerns were, Fudge said. What she asked me was, basically, how we could get to a point where Im supportive.
One question for some Democrats is what, exactly, Pelosi means when she says she intends to be a transitional leader, a bridge to a new generation. She has led the party for 15 years.
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If it were up to most of the Democratic Party, Pelosi easily would win. They see her as a skilled and tested leader prepared to confront Trump and deliver on priorities.
“Nancy Pelosi has demonstrated herself to be a very effective leader of the Democratic Caucus and was instrumental in ensuring a favorable vote outcome for the first time that the [Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA)] language was passed on the House floor in order to restrict the Department of Justice’s ability to enforce federal prohibition against the states that have legalized medical marijuana programs. Her operation has been engaged with—and in regular talks with—our champions of the Cannabis Caucus and members who are supportive, and we have every indication that we will have her full support in moving legislation forward that would end federal prohibition.”
Pelosi, 78, first became speaker after Democrats took control of the House in midterm elections during former President George W. Bushs second term. With President Barack Obama, she was pivotal in passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010.
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With a narrow Democratic majority, now at 231 seats in the 435-member House, Pelosi does not have much cushion to secure the 218 votes needed, assuming all Republicans vote against her, as expected. Some House races remain undecided and the Democratic majority could grow slightly.
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There is a chance the math could shift in Pelosis favor if lawmakers are absent or simply vote present, meaning she would need fewer than 218 votes for an absolute majority.
Washington (CNN)House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi continues to project confidence that she will be elected speaker of the US House of Representatives when the new Democratic-led Congress starts in January — but she faces a potential challenger in Rep. Marcia Fudge.