speaker vote

Pelosi elected speaker with 15 Democratic defections
California Democrat claims gavel again after eight years in minority

Nancy Pelosi is speaker again, eight years after she last held the gavel. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats, in their first act of the 116th Congress on Thursday, officially elected Nancy Pelosi to serve as speaker, returning the gavel to the longtime Democratic leader eight years after she last held it.

The speaker election was not without controversy, however. The California Democrat had to cut a handful of deals over the past two months with would-be opponents to shore up the support needed to win the floor vote, even though no one was challenging her for the post.

More Problem Solvers Members Pledge to Tie Speaker Vote to Rule Changes
Bipartisan caucus now has 19 members ready to oppose a candidate for speaker if they don’t back process changes

Rep. Tom Reed, R-N.Y., and the other members of the Problem Solvers Caucus say they are gaining support for the effort to revamp House rules. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Trying to show their push to amend House rules to create more bipartisan legislative processes is serious, the Problem Solvers Caucus announced Thursday that 19 of its members are willing to oppose any speaker candidate who won’t bring about change.

The bipartisan caucus unveiled a package of proposed House rules changes in July called “Break the Gridlock” and has been coalescing support for it on both sides of the aisle. Some of the caucus members have decided to add some oomph to their sales pitch by pledging not to support a candidate for speaker unless that person commits to enacting the rules package.

15 Members Pledge to Withhold Speaker Vote Without Rule Changes
8 Democrats, 7 Republicans part of bipartisan Problems Solvers Caucus

Rep. Tom O’Halleran, D-Ariz., said he will not vote for a speaker who doesn’t back the Problem Solvers Caucus proposed rule changes for making the House more bipartisan. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

At least 15 members of the bipartisan Problems Solvers Caucus have pledged to withhold their vote for speaker if the candidate that emerges as the majority party’s nominee does not back the caucus’s proposed rule changes.

The Problem Solvers unveiled a package of rules changes in late July dubbed “Break the Gridlock.” The proposals aim to open up the legislative process in a way that prioritizes bipartisanship.