And Democrats Said: Let There Be Vice Ranking Members

House caucus rules amended to allow for new leadership posts

Massachusetts Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III was one of the Democrats who came up with the idea of committee vice ranking members. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats on Friday adopted an amendment to their internal caucus rules allowing for the creation of vice ranking members for standing committees. 

The introduction of additional committee leadership posts comes in response to concerns raised following the Democrats’ poor showing in last year’s elections that there were not enough opportunities for younger members to contribute to the caucus at the committee and leadership levels.

Democrats do not have term limits for the top echelon of their elected leadership team or for their committee leaders, and many of the members who serve in those posts have held their positions for several terms. The vice ranking member posts are meant to be reserved for newer members. The Democratic members of each committee will elect their vice ranking members, who can only serve for one term under the new caucus rule. 

“With our new vice ranking members, House Democrats are harnessing the great and dynamic leadership of our members at every level,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement. “These new positions will provide more representation of the diversity of our caucus and strengthen our fight on behalf of hardworking Americans.”

Pelosi said the idea for the vice ranking members came from Reps. Joseph P. Kennedy III of Massachusetts and Derek Kilmer of Washington, both of whom are beginning their third terms. 

“They have worked diligently to build consensus for this proposal and their leadership in doing so speaks to their commitment to furthering opportunities for newer members in our caucus,” she said. “On behalf of the caucus, I thank them both for their efforts.”

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