Rep. Maxine Waters (CA-43) is asking Democrats to support House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA-12) for Speaker as anti-Pelosi Democrats have moved to block her from winning the speakership on the first ballot.
After Waters sent her letter on Nov. 14, other prominent Black democrats expressed their support for Pelosi as Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH) considers a challenge. Fudge is one of 17 reported democrats who have pledged not to vote for Pelosi on the House floor.
Waters, who is set to chair the powerful Financial Services Committee, reminded Democrats in her letter that, “despite years of republican gerrymandering and voter suppression,” Pelosi led Democrats to “one of the largest Democratic gains in seats in decades.”
“The steady, experienced leadership of Nancy Pelosi is vital as we restore order, decorum and the system of checks and balances so fundamental to our democracy,” Waters continued after accusing Republicans of spending years “demonizing the women in the Democratic caucus” and doing “everything they can to tarnish the reputation of Leader Pelosi,” herself, and “countless others who represent change and progress.”
Waters also touted Pelosi’s legislative accomplishments, saying Pelosi provided “resolute leadership during some of the most contentious legislative battles in modern history.”
“There would be no Affordable Care Act without her tireless work,” Waters wrote to her colleagues.
Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) on Thursday said “it would be a grave disappointment if Nancy Pelosi is not Speaker of the House in 2019.”
“In a year where we saw a record-breaking number of women running for office and winning seats in congress, it is imperative that we resist the cavalier and short-sighted effort to oust one of the most influential women in American history,” Rush said. “Nancy Pelosi’s insight, fortitude, and strategic thinking is why House Democrats will be in the majority in the 116th Congress. She — and no one else — has earned our support to be Speaker.”
Rep. Karen Bass (CA-37) also said she will support Pelosi.
Though Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA), the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), has said he is neither for nor against Pelosi. Since the midterm election, Pelosi has met several times with members of the CBC to gain their support.