Pelosi Not Interested in Compromising on Succession Plan for Her Speakership

Speaker hopeful says her opponents shouldn’t get to dictate when she retires

From left, Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., talk after the incoming House Democratic leadership team posed for a group photo in the Rayburn Room in the Capitol on Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said Friday she doesn’t see a way in which she’d compromise with the group of members who oppose her speaker bid unless she specifies a clear succession plan. 

“Between saying when I’m going to retire or not? I don’t think so,” the California Democrat said when asked whether there is a middle ground to be found on the question of when she will relinquish the speaker’s gavel if members vote Jan. 3 to give it to her again. 

At least 20 Democrats have said they will not vote for Pelosi during the speaker election in January.

A majority of that opposition group — led by Reps. Ed Perlmutter of Colorado, Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, Kathleen Rice of New York, Tim Ryan of Ohio and Kurt Schrader of Oregon —  have said the only way they’d change their minds is if Pelosi laid out a clear timeline on when she plans to relinquish power to a new generation of leaders. 

Pelosi told reporters Friday matter of factly: “This will be resolved.”

But she has and continues to refuse to say when she’ll retire, saying she doesn’t want to make herself a lame duck and reduce her negotiating abilities. 

“I don’t think, by the way, that they should be putting timelines on the next speaker,” she said. 

Schrader told Roll Call that the opposition group met Thursday night and remains firmly opposed to Pelosi absent an agreement on a succession plan.

Moulton also said that the only thing the group is willing to negotiate with Pelosi on is a timeline for when she’s leaving. 

“All of us are,” he said when asked how many of them were firm on that position. 

Earlier this week, however, the opposition group lost another member, Massachusetts Rep. Stephen F. Lynch, who is now supporting Pelosi after extracting unspecified concessions from her. 

“I’m not going to say what we actually agreed upon, but we agreed on a set of values that were in harmony with the things that we care about,” Lynch told The New York Times

The Times also reported that Perlmutter was in active conversations with Pelosi and open to supporting her, but the congressman’s office pushed back on the report. 

Perlmutter spokeswoman Ashley Verville called the Times report “misleading.”

“Ed is in active conversations with Pelosi, but he is only open to supporting her if the conversations result in some kind of an agreement about a transition,” she told Roll Call in an e-mail.

Watch: Pelosi Holds Victorious Briefing After Speakership Nod

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