Pelosi stepping down as House Democrat leader, prompting a generational change in party

Pelosi announces she will remain a member of the House speaking for the people of San Francisco and the state of California

Updated: November 17, 2022 - 6:29pm

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Thursday she "will not seek re-election to Democratic leadership" after the GOP won the House majority in the midterm election.

Pelosi, 82, also said she will continue to serve the people of San Francisco and "defend our Constitution" as a member of the House.

"There is no greater official honor for me than to stand on this floor and to speak for the people of San Francisco," Pelosi said on the House floor.

"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 and with great confidence in our caucus, I will not seek re-election to Democratic leadership in the next Congress."

The California Democrat said the "hour's come for a new generation" to lead the Democratic caucus.

"I am grateful that so many are ready and willing to shoulder this awesome responsibility," the 82-year-old Pelosi said. "I am endlessly grateful for all of life's blessings."

Hours later, Maryland Democrat Rep. Steny Hoyer, 83, also said he would not run for a leadership position in the next Congress.

Prior to announcing her future plans, Pelosi had said the attack on her husband last month at the couple's San Francisco home – in which the alleged assailant reportedly said he was looking for her – will heavily influence her future plans.

In her floor speech, Pelosi mentioned her husband Paul, who is recovering from the attack, and thanked the public for their prayers.

Pelosi emphasized that democracy must be defended, referring to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Pelosi said there were 12 Democratic women in Congress when she first began serving in 1987 and now there are 90. 

"And we want more," she said.

Pelosi became the first female speaker of the House in 2007 after the Democrats won the majority in the 2006 midterm election during the presidency of George W. Bush.

She continued as speaker under the presidency of Democrat Barack Obama and was instrumental in the passage of the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare.

Pelosi handed the gavel to Republican Rep. John Boehner four years after becoming speaker following the GOP taking back the House in the 2010 midterm election.

Republicans maintained the House majority for eight years until the 2018 midterm election when Democrats won the majority.

Pelosi was re-elected as speaker after the Democrats kept the House majority in the 2020 election.

In her speech Thursday, Pelosi named some of her key legislative accomplishments under Biden's presidency, which included the bipartisan infrastructure law and the Inflation Reduction Act.

Pelosi will now pass the speaker's gavel to House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy if he receives the 218 votes needed to become speaker when the new Congress begins in January 2023. 

Potential successors for Pelosi as House Democratic leader include New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries and California Rep. Adam Schiff.

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