Ending a trail-blazing career in leading Democrats in the House, Rep. Nancy Pelosi announced that she would step down from her leadership position in the House to make way for a new generation of leadership in her party while remaining a member of Congress.
Speaker of the House on two separate occasions, from 2007-2011 and her current reign that began in 2019, Pelosi stated in an address on Nov. 17 that “for me the hour has come for a new generation to lead the Democratic caucus that I so deeply respect. And I am grateful that so many are ready and willing to shoulder this awesome responsibility.”
Shortly after Pelosi, 82, delivered her remarks, Rep. Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the 83-year-old No. 2 Democrat, told his colleagues that he would not seek a leadership position in the next Congress. Representative Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, 82 and the No. 3 Democrat, was said to be planning to cede the position of whip and seek to become the assistant leader.
New Dem Leadership
Reps. Hakeem Jeffries, 52, of New York, Representatives Katherine Clark of Massachusetts, 59, and Pete Aguilar of California, 43, were widely expected to seek the top three spots.were expected to seek the top three spots among House Democrats and have the support of the current occupants of those posts.
Pelosi, the only woman to lead one of the three legislative branches in Washington, made the decision after her husband, Paul, was brutally attacked in their San Francisco home late last month by a hammer-wielding assailant who was said to have been planning to kidnap and assault the speaker herself.
First elected in a 1987 special election in California’s 5th Congressional District, Pelosi rose through the ranks Democratic lawmakers celebrated her legislative record that included passage of the Affordable Care Act, American Rescue Plan, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act.
Following are comments from the North Jersey congressional delegation and President Joe Biden.
Rep. Bill Pascrell
“If they were chiseling a Mount Rushmore for House leaders, I can promise you Madame Speaker would be on it. In the coming days many celebrations will be written, rightly, about Speaker Pelosi’s historic tenure. That she was the first woman Speaker, and highest ranking Italian-American in our nation’s history, are monumental milestones to be sure. But reflecting today what strikes me most is that Speaker Pelosi is so good at her job. When your ship steers smoothly through choppy waters you take for granted that a captain is guiding it forward. So it is with our House and our Speaker. Speaker Pelosi’s calmness under any pressure, her steely precision, her directness, her pragmatism make her an unmatched leader.
“I was there for all the debates and all the trench warfare and let there be no mistake: the reason the Affordable Care Act passed is because of Speaker Pelosi more than anyone else because she saw the one path forward and took us there. Senator Phil Hart once said of Washington that you can achieve anything here if you do the work and let others take the credit. My friend Nancy Pelosi did the work, and she deserves the credit too.”
Rep. Mikie Sherrill
“Under Nancy Pelosi’s historic tenure as the first female Speaker of the United States House of Representatives and Steny Hoyer’s enduring and impactful time as a steadfast member of Democratic leadership, they shepherded into law several major pieces of legislation that have delivered real results for Americans. I wish them all the best and thank them for their decades of public service.
“It is now time to move forward with a new generation of leadership. Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, who grew up in a union family in Brooklyn and has an extensive record of effective public service, has my unequivocal support to become the next Democratic Leader.
“Congressman Jeffries has proven himself a tireless advocate for working families, helped lead the fight to fund the Gateway Tunnel Project, and stood as a champion of criminal justice reform. We will benefit greatly from his knowledge, experience, and unwavering courage as we hit the ground running in the new Congress and work to make life more affordable, create good-paying jobs, and keep our communities safe. With such a slim and divided Republican majority, Congressman Jeffries is uniquely qualified to bring our caucus together and deliver bipartisan results for all Americans. I look forward to working with him in the 118th Congress.”
Rep. Donald Payne
“For 35 years and two terms, Nancy Patricia Pelosi has courageously and patriotically executed her duties and responsibilities representing San Francisco, California’s 12th Congressional District. For 19 years, she has fearlessly led House Democrats, shattering glass ceilings and consistently breaking barriers as the first and only woman to ever serve our nation as Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. Today, she announced her decision to pass the torch to new democratic House Leadership in the 118th Congress.
“In 2012, the great people of New Jersey’s 10th Congressional District elected me to the United States House of Representatives, months after the passing of my hero and father, Congressman Donald M. Payne, Sr.”
“I will never forget the way that Speaker Pelosi took me and other newly elected democrats under her wing in the 113th Congress, mentoring us and providing guidance and leadership through some of our nation’s most turbulent times. Over the years, our relationship and my admiration for Speaker Pelosi has only grown. As she announces her decision to pass the torch to new democratic House Leadership, I find myself overcome with gratitude, emotion, and deep appreciation for all that she has been to us and all that she will ever be to our nation. I am thankful that the constituents of New Jersey’s 10th Congressional District afforded me to the opportunity to serve with her. She will forever be one of the greatest political figures in our nation’s history.”
“It was her hands that helped craft and enact lifesaving legislation that helped turn the tide of the COVID-19 pandemic ensuring that vaccines made it into the arms of hundreds of millions of Americans. And it was her hands that engineered the Build Back Better Act and the enactment of the Inflation Reduction Act, which helped bring down the costs of prescription drugs, deliver lower health care premiums and the most consequential climate action in human history.”
“We remember Speaker Pelosi as the architect of the Affordable Care Act. Her legacy securing protections for all Americans with pre-existing medical conditions has made available affordable health coverage for tens of millions of Americans.”
“Speaker Pelosi is a patriot and her love for our country and the democracy on which it stands is incalculable and will forever transcend party politics or ideologies. Let her decision, announced today, and made only hours after Republicans received the votes to control the House of Representatives in the 118th Congress, perhaps best exemplify her belief and commitment to our nation and the democracy on which it stands. Our nation will forever be grateful for her selfless strides towards helping us form a more perfect union.”
“May God bless Speaker Pelosi, her husband Paul, her children Alexandra, Paul Jr., Jacqueline, Nancy and Christine and grandchildren.”
Rep. Josh Gottheimer
I’m grateful to have worked with Speaker Pelosi to bring Democrats and Republicans together to pass historic legislation — like our Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill and the Invest to Protect Act.
The Speaker has been a fierce leader and legislator, always working for the people. Some days we’ve worked closely together — other days, less so. But my respect for her has only grown.
She made history as the first woman Speaker, and I have deep respect for her pathbreaking model. She’s become a role model for my own daughter, and I thank her for her service to our nation. I look forward to continuing to serve with her.
Since I first ran for Congress, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer has been a friend, mentor, and a great leader of the sensible center — always working to build bridges and find commonsense solutions to make our country a better place.
Steny is a true statesman and we are lucky to still have his voice and wisdom in the House. He is also just a great guy!
I’m very much looking forward to continuing to serve with him, and get his counsel.
Rep.-elect Rob Menendez
“Let me start by expressing my deep gratitude and immense respect for Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the leadership that she has brought to the party that I am so honored to be a part of.
No party leader has been more effective at pushing through historic legislation, unifying a caucus, or helping to elect a diverse coalition of lawmakers than Speaker Pelosi.
Under her bold leadership, Democrats have delivered life-changing victories for the American people and for the 8th Congressional District – the Affordable Care Act, the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the Inflation Reduction Act, three COVID relief packages, the Bipartisan Infrastructure law and many more accomplishments that are helping people every single day.
I am grateful to the Speaker for her decades of groundbreaking service to the United States, the House of Representatives, and the Democratic Party. Speaker Pelosi is a once in a generation leader. The Speaker’s announcement today is a recognition of that – a passing of the torch to the next generation, and an opportunity to build up Democratic leaders in the mold that she created.
I look forward to participating in leadership discussions to ensure that our next leader is someone who will be able to move our country and our caucus forward as Speaker Pelosi has done time and time again.”
President Joe Biden
When I think of Nancy Pelosi, I think of dignity.
History will note she is the most consequential Speaker of the House of Representatives in our history. There are countless examples of how she embodies the obligation of elected officials to uphold their oath to God and country to ensure our democracy delivers and remains a beacon to the world. In everything she does, she reflects a dignity in her actions and a dignity she sees in the lives of the people of this nation.
In 2007, she made history as the first woman Speaker, but that was just the beginning of the history she has made during her four terms. I know because I’ve seen her in action during my career as Senator, Vice President, and now as President. With Nancy, you see a father’s daughter who learned by his side how to win and govern. With her leading the way, you never worry about whether a bill will pass. If she says she has the votes, she has the votes. Every time.
History will record her leadership with President Obama to rescue the economy in crisis from the Great Recession. With her sheer will, passing the Affordable Care Act to ensure health care is a right not a privilege. Ending Don’t Ask Don’t Tell so patriotic Americans can serve the country they love no matter who they love. The list goes on, including her leadership in defending democracy and advancing human rights around the world.
In the first two years of my presidency, she was a singular force securing once-in-a-generation bills that will define our nation for decades to come. The American Rescue Plan to get us through COVID-19. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to rebuild our roads and bridges. The CHIPS and Science Act to ensure the most advanced manufacturing is done here in America. The most significant gun safety law in nearly thirty years – for the children. One of the most significant bills helping veterans and their families exposed to toxic materials. And, the Inflation Reduction Act that took on Big Pharma and won, and reflects the most aggressive action ever to tackle the climate crisis.
Because of Nancy Pelosi, the lives of millions and millions of Americans are better, even in districts represented by Republicans who voted against her bills and too often vilify her. That’s Nancy – always working for the dignity of all of the people. And, as a fierce defender of democracy through our laws, history will also note her fierceness and resolve to protect our democracy from the violent, deadly insurrection of January 6th. It’s a threat of political violence and intimidation that continues and she and her family know all too well, but that will never stop her from serving our nation.
She might be stepping down from her leadership role in the House Democratic Caucus, but she will never waiver in protecting our sacred democracy.
Nancy Pelosi is first, last, and always for the people. Jill and I count Nancy, Paul, and their family among our dearest friends. As a nation, we owe her a deep debt of gratitude for her service, her patriotism, and above all, her absolute dignity.
Gov. Phil Murphy
A heartfelt note of gratitude to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as she transitions from leadership after a historic run as Speaker of the House.
Her steadfast leadership & unwavering strength helped guide our country through some of the most challenging times in our history.
Thank you, Nancy.