Freshman Democrats are demanding that Nancy Pelosi put an end to the old culture of waiting your turn in exchange for supporting her in her bid to become Speaker. These newly elected Democrats include Rashida Tlaib and Ayana Pressley.
Rashida Tlaib met with privately with Representative Nancy Pelosi and demanded that there be an end to the culture of waiting your turn. Nancy Pelosi used that same seniority system to climb the ranks of the house. Rashida Tlaib demanded that Pelosi give newcomers seats on powerful committees like Appropriations and Ways and Means that were typically reserved for veterans.
If Pelosi empowers these new members, she will risk the ire of a Democrat version of the House Freedom Caucus. The new members are dissatisfied with mainstream Democrats who do not lean to the left as much as them. Pelosi is treading softly and trying to walk a thin, fine line when dealing with both sections of Democrats. Pelosi praised their idealism and imagination while warning them of being intransigent.
The new outspoken progressives could have a lot of power and influence which is worrying to pragmatic Democrats. Pelosi is skilled at navigating murky waters as she resisted calls from both the left and progressives in engaging Trump on issues like immigration and customs enforcement.
Some of the incoming Democrats have their brands and following like Ms. Ocasio-Cortez who has a robust following on Instagram and other social media platforms. These Democrats claim that they need more prominent roles as they have brought in new people into the electorate.
Some have warned that their support of Pelosi comes with a price that Pelosi will have to pay. They explain how they come from districts that have previously voted for Trump and they need to go back to their districts and show them that they have accomplished something. Some of the newcomers participated in a sit-in at Pelosi’s office. Some are also pushing for democratic leaders to ban members from serving on a panel if they have taken industry contributions.
Ayana Pressley who is from Massachusetts who ousted a former Democrat in a party primary made Pelosi promise that she would bring up a bill to require background checks for all gun purchases. Ayana Pressley has also been appointed to a gun violence prevention task force by Nancy Pelosi. After the commitment, Ayana Pressley announced that she would support Nancy Pelosi for Speaker.
Jahana Hayes of Connecticut also won after unseating an incumbent Democrat who had the backing of most of her State party. Hayes said that winning as an outsider has freed her from strictly doing things in accordance with party protocol. She had previously refused two requests of support from Pelosi before announcing her support for Pelosi.
Jahana Hayes was voting for Pelosi because not voting for Pelosi will be for a Republican. She did not bargain or request for committee assignments, but she called for a generational shift in leadership.
The Congressional Progressive Caucus has increased to over 90 people from 78. This is over one-third of Democrats in the house. This caucus is already flexing its caucus and one of its members, Barbara Lee of California is contesting against Hakeem Jeffries of New York for the leader of the House Democratic Caucus.