Change-agent Pressley backs Pelosi

It turns out change can wait.

Ayanna Pressley, whose campaign theme was “change can’t wait,” announced that she will be supporting Nancy Pelosi’s continued leadership of the Democrats as they prepare to take over the House.

The congresswoman-elect said in a statement that her support for Pelosi as the next House speaker is “motivated by her progressive track record and her express commitment to bring a background check bill to the floor as an early priority this Congress.” Pressley noted that she had been appointed to the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force.

Pressley said she also would be supporting Reps. Barbara Lee of California for caucus chair and Katherine Clark of Melrose for vice chair. She did not say whether she would be backing the other members of Pelosi’s top leadership team — Reps. Steny Hoyer of Maryland as majority leader and James Clyburn of South Carolina for majority whip.

By the time Pressley announced her decision, the challenge to Pelosi by a small group of Democrats led by Rep. Seth Moulton of Salem was largely over. Moulton, who, like Pressley, defeated an incumbent Democrat to win his seat, has been pressing for a change at the top of House leadership. That effort stalled when no one stepped forward to challenge Pelosi, who has been leading Democrats in the House for the last 11 years.

As Lowell Sun columnist Peter Lucas wrote, “you can’t replace somebody with nobody. Things don’t work that way.”

The Washington Post, quoting associates of Moulton, reported that the congressman was seeking a meeting with Pelosi to discuss possible terms for the support of his group. He reportedly wants to explore whether the 78-year-old Pelosi would consider a younger member of the House for her top leadership team, which currently consists of the 79-year-old Hoyer and the 78-year-old Clyburn. Alternatively, the Post reported, Moulton wanted to know whether Pelosi would consider stepping aside as speaker after a year in office to make way for new leadership then. The New York Times carried a similar story.

“Leader Pelosi wants to boil this down to a personal argument, but this is so much bigger than her,”  Moulton said in a statement. “It’s about the entire, stagnant, three-person leadership team and having a serious conversation about promoting leaders who reflect the future of our caucus.”

Democrats are expected to vote for their leaders at a caucus on Wednesday.



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