Nancy Pelosi Will Retire As House Speaker, But Keep Her House Seat

The first woman in U.S. history to serve as Speaker of the House is stepping down from her leadership role.

Nancy Pelosi Will Retire As House Speaker, But Keep Her House Seat
Screenshot:Twitter/@SpeakerPelosi (Fair Use)

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the first woman to serve as Speaker of the House, is said she would not seek reelection for the leadership role, but will remain in Congress serving the 12th District. Pelosi, 82, gave a speech Thursday in front of members of the House and broadcast it on Twitter live. She wore a white suit, likely a reference to suffragettes, and received a standing ovation as she entered the room.

“My friends, no matter what title you all my colleagues have bestowed on me—Speaker, Leader, Whip—there is no greater official honor for me than to stand on this floor and to speak for the people of San Francisco. This I will continue to do as a member of the House speaking for the people of San Francisco, serving the great state of California, and defending our Constitution,” Pelosi said. “With great confidence in our caucus, I will not seek reelection to Democratic leadership in the next Congress. For me, the hour has come for a new generation to lead the Democratic caucus that I so deeply respect. I’m grateful that so many are ready and willing to shoulder this awesome responsibility.”

Republicans regained control of the House in the midterms as expected, so the next Democratic House leader’s title would be Minority Leader if she sought the role again. But Pelosi had already planned to step down as Speaker before a man brutally attacked her husband Paul in their San Francisco home in October. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) was campaigning for the role this summer.

Pelosi broke barriers, managed to whip the votes against all odds to pass the Affordable Care Act under President Barack Obama, and has led a divided Democratic caucus since 2007. She also endorsed anti-abortion Democrats, took some controversial positions—including that members of Congress should be able to trade stocks—and called a billionaire tax a “publicity stunt” weeks before officiating the wedding of an oil heiress.

What’s unclear to me is how she can go from being the boss of the House to being a regular member of Congress? It seems like it’d be impossible not to micromanage her successor. Maybe that’s the point, after all.

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