Although House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is expected to retain her leadership position in the upcoming legislative session, it will be with a much slimmer majority for her party — meaning she may not end her career in leadership on a high note.
During a recent news conference, Pelosi said she would “abide by” term limits proposed for House leadership, Fox News reported, implying that she would be done with her tenure as speaker of the House in 2022.
“They didn’t do it”
Pelosi has faced some intraparty backlash since Election Day as moderate and progressive Democrats bicker over which wing was most responsible for an underwhelming performance in races nationwide.
In response to a reporter’s question on Wednesday regarding whether the upcoming term would be her last, she seemed to signal that she would abide by proposed term limits even though they have not been enacted. In 2018, the speaker committed to serving no more than two more terms if such limitations were imposed.
“When that conversation took place, there was a move to put limits on the leadership and chairs of committees,” Pelosi told reporters this week, according to Fox. “They said they were going to do it. They didn’t do it. Whether it passes or not, I will abide by those limits that are there.”
Pelosi went on to drop a few more hints about her intentions.
“Listen, if my husband is listening, don’t let me have to be more specific than that,” she said. “Because we never expected to have another term now.”
“I made that statement”
According to Fox, Pelosi also said that she “can’t wait to work with Joe Biden” and explained that she does not “want to undermine any leverage” she currently has by revealing her plans beyond the next two years.
“But I made that statement,” she said in an apparent reference to her remarks two years ago.
The 80-year-old has been nominated to serve another term as speaker and is running unopposed. Nevertheless, the process requires 218 votes when presented to the full House — and a handful of Democrats have signaled they are not committed to supporting her.
If those opposing Democrats vote “present,” Pelosi would have a lower threshold for being elected. If they choose to write in another name, however, she would still need the full 218 votes.
Of course, any rumors about extending her speakership past the next session are highly speculative. Given Pelosi’s assumption that Biden will be officially declared the next president, trends suggest Democrats would be likely to lose their majority in the House during the 2022 midterms, which would force Pelosi out, anyway.