Pelosi addresses “future plans” in speech from House floor

Washington — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is addressing her “future plans” in a speech from the House floor on Thursday with Republicans projected to win narrow control of the House, bringing an end to her four-year hold on the speaker’s gavel and relegating Democrats to the minority.

The anticipated announcement about whether Pelosi will seek another term in House Democratic leadership or clear the way for a new generation of lawmakers to run the caucus will put to end months of speculation about her political future. It also follows the violent attack on her husband Paul Pelosi, of which Pelosi herself was the target, at their San Francisco home last month, which the speaker told CNN would influence whether she would step aside.

The California Democrat, wearing a white suit, the color often worn by suffragists, was greeted by applause when she entered the House chamber at 12 p.m. E.T. to open the session. Dozens of Pelosi’s Democratic colleagues gathered in the House chamber for her remarks, as well as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. One Republican, Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina, offered a nod to Pelosi as he concluded brief comments on the House floor before her speech, saying, “Godspeed, Speaker Nancy Pelosi.”

“[Pelosi] has been overwhelmed by calls from colleagues, friends and supporters. This evening, the Speaker monitored returns in the three remaining critical states. The Speaker plans to address her future plans tomorrow to her colleagues. Stay tuned,” Drew Hammill, Pelosi’s spokesman, said on Twitter on Wednesday.

It was unclear heading into Thursday what decision Pelosi had made, and she took two versions of her speech home with her Wednesday night, a source familiar with the matter said. The speaker declined to answer questions about her plans when arriving at the Capitol Thursday morning.

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi discusses future plans on Capitol Hill in Washington
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi walks through Statuary Hall as she arrives to announce her future plans in Congress on Nov. 17, 2022.


Since her election to Congress in 1987, Pelosi has risen through the ranks of House Democratic leadership, serving as minority whip — her election to that position made Pelosi the highest-ranking woman in congressional history — and then House Democratic leader, a role she has held since 2003.

In 2007, she made history as the first woman to be elected speaker of the House when Democrats took the majority. She has served four nonconsecutive terms as speaker since, uniting an often fractious Democratic caucus to pass some of the most consequential legislation in recent history under the Obama and Biden administrations.

For Republicans, her unabashed pursuit of liberal priorities made her a convenient foil on the campaign trail, and GOP candidates have targeted her in attack ads for years. She was also a staunch opponent of former President Donald Trump, overseeing both House impeachment proceedings against him. Their fractured relationship was memorably on display after Trump’s State of the Union address in 2020, after which Pelosi tore up a copy of his remarks.

While Pelosi said in 2018 that she would limit her term as Democratic leader to four years, a pledge that appeased enough members of her party to secure the speaker’s gavel once more, she has been pushed to reconsider after the “red wave” expected for Republicans did not happen.

The speaker told CNN on Sunday that her Democratic colleagues had asked her to “consider” running in the caucus’ leadership elections, set to begin at the end of the month, but she said any decision on whether to do so will be “rooted in the wishes of my family and the wishes of my caucus.”

Mr. Biden also asked Pelosi to stay in office, telling the California Democrat after she won her own reelection bid that “I hope you stick,” according to Politico.

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