Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) selected to lead House Democrats
Rep. Clark, Aguilar are Jeffries lieutenants
WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - For the first time in roughly two decades, House Democrats have new leadership.
New York Congressman Hakeem Jeffries was chosen unanimously by Democratic members during a Wednesday morning vote. He will take over the caucus’s top leadership position from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
Jeffries said, “I also want to convey my thanks to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, an extraordinary speaker for the ages and who has delivered so much for so many over such a significant period of time.”
Pelosi announced earlier this month that she would step away from leadership after roughly two decades. In her speech on the House floor, she called for a “new generation” to lead the caucus. Jeffries is 52 years old, 30 years younger than Pelosi.
Massachusetts Congresswoman Katherine Clark will serve as the House Democratic Whip, the number two leadership position. California Congressman Pete Aguilar will serve as the House Democratic Conference chair.
Clark said, “We as a team, and as a caucus, reflect the diversity in the strength of the American people.”
The House Democratic assistant leadership role remains up in the air, and a vote expected on Thursday. Current House Democratic Whip, South Carolina Congressman Jim Clyburn is in the running for the role. He is being challenged by Rhode Island Congressman David Cicilline.
On Wednesday, Cicilline said, “With attacks on the LBGTQ community… the horrific shooting in Colorado Springs… It just underscores the importance that there be LBGTQ representation at the leadership table.”
Cicilline also said, “I have enormous respect for Mr. Clyburn, this is not about him, this is about ensuring that we have a fully inclusive and fully representative leadership team.”
Jeffries was asked how he expects House Democrats will work across the aisle in the next Congress, one where Republicans will control the House.
Jeffries said, “We will also push back against extremism whenever necessary, and we seek to find common ground whenever and wherever possible.”
Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is trying to find enough support to win the Speaker position, as the Republicans will be in the majority in January for the 118th Congress.
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