Ed. Note. On November 17 House Democrats re-elected Nancy
Pelosi as their leader, a move which was surprising given the massive
Democratic defeats in the 2010 mid-term elections. The vote was 150 to 43
for Rep. Heath Shuler (NC). Pelosi argued that she was such
a target for Republicans because she has been so effective. Some
Republicans were pleased at this turn of events, suggesting that the
"Fire Pelosi" slogan be changed to "Hire Pelosi." Democrats also
created a new position of Assistant Leader for Rep. Jim Clyburn (SC).
PRESS RELEASE from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
For Immediate Release
Pelosi Remarks at Press
Availability Following Democratic Leadership Elections Today
Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Majority
Leader Steny Hoyer, House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn, Assistant to
the Speaker Chris Van Hollen, Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson,
and Democratic Caucus Vice Chair Xavier Becerra held a news conference
this afternoon following their elections to new leadership positions in
the 112th Congress. Below are the Speaker’s opening remarks and the
question and answer session:
you very much, Mr. Chairman. I wish all of America could have
Caucus today—and yesterday, as you mention, Mr. Chairman. To hear
commitment that they have for fighting for the middle class, for saving
Social Security, for honoring our men and women in uniform and building
a future worthy of their sacrifice for our great country.
are just going to speak briefly each of us. But I am proud to be
of this leadership team. Our consensus is that we go out there
listening to the American people. It’s about jobs. It’s
reducing the deficit. And it’s about fighting for the middle
So I look forward to doing that with this great leadership team.
me make one special mention because we have a new position for Chris
Van Hollen, who has been chosen to be the Ranking Member on the Budget
Committee. The budget many expect to be a statement of our
values. I know that Chris Van Hollen will make that fight based
values, based on reducing the deficit, based on fighting for the middle
class. So I want to congratulate him on his new
* * *
Question and Answer
What do you say to Americans who may look at this and say, you know,
it’s the same leadership now as it was before November 2nd. They
thought they sent some message. What do you say to those voters?
The message we received from the American people was that they want a
job — they want jobs. 9.5% unemployment is a very tough screen to
through with any other message. What we want to say to the
people is what Mr. Hoyer was saying, we want them to “Make It In
America” — to manufacture in our country so that their families
make it in America.
This is an experienced, diverse leadership
team that is very strong. It is a team that took us to victory in
and ’06 and will take us to victory again. In the meantime, I
say to the American people: “We extend a hand of friendship to the
Republicans; we look forward to hearing their ideas on job creation and
I hearken back to a President in my youth
who inspired me, John F. Kennedy, who said, “We must not seek a
Republican way or a Democratic way, we must find the right way” to go
forward as we take our own responsibility for the future. Now I
the privilege of serving under another young inspiring President of the
United States, and I want the American people to know that we all
strive to work together wherever possible in a bipartisan way to create
jobs and reduce the deficit.
And I’m very, very proud of our
leadership team and proud of the role that Mr. Clyburn will serve as
Assistant Leader. He’s an icon in our country in terms of working
the middle class and a new change, Mr. Van Hollen as the ranking Member
on the Budget Committee. And I say then, how sad we are to lose
Spratt, a very distinguished Member of Congress who always put forth a
budget that was a statement of our national values, what’s important to
our country was reflected there. That’s what I would say.
Madam Speaker, over 60 House Democrats lost in this cycle. Your
positive rating with independents from our last NBC poll stands at
eight percent. Why are you the best person to lead House
the current political landscape?
Well, let me put that in perspective. How would your ratings be if $75
million were spent against you? Because I’m an effective leader,
because we got the job done on health care and Wall Street reform and
consumer protection, the list goes on. Because they know that I’m
person that can attract the resources, both intellectual and otherwise,
to take us to victory because I have done it before. And so,
you take 9.5% unemployment, you throw a dollar bill--$75 million
dollars spent against one person and I’d like to say what your ratings
But I feel confident and I’m so proud of our Members
and so many of them [who lost] have said to me that they want to keep
the door open to running again and to work with this leadership team.
Congressman Xavier Becerra.
I just add one thing? I urge you to speak to the overwhelming
number of our membership who elected Nancy Pelosi to be our leader
because I believe as each and every one of them has said, that she has
led us and she has led us to historic heights. And many of us
that we are prepared to take this country to even greater heights and
many of us spoke very loudly that the person who could do that here in
the House of Representatives for this Democratic Caucus is the woman
who is named Nancy Pelosi.
Chairman John Larson.
They know her will. Most importantly, they know her heart. And
what was felt today—the heartfelt feeling of this Caucus behind this
Thank you very much.
We have to go to work now. Thank you all.
Washington, D.C. - Last week, Congressman Heath Shuler
(D-Waynesville) stood out as a strong, moderate leader in the U.S.
On Tuesday, Rep. Shuler was elected as the leader (Co-Chair for
Administration) of the fiscally responsible Democratic Blue Dog
Coalition. The team that will lead the Coalition’s efforts in the 112th
Congress also includes Rep. John Barrow (D-GA) as Co-Chair for Policy
and Rep. Mike Ross (D-AR) as Co-Chair for Communications.
Accepting the new role, Rep. Shuler said, "The Blue Dogs will
continue to be a voice in Congress for the large majority of Americans
who expect us to come together to develop common-sense solutions to the
serious problems facing this country. This isn't about party politics;
it’s about doing what's right for the country, and I am proud to be a
leader in that effort."
Also last week, Rep. Shuler challenged Speaker Nancy Pelosi for the
position of Minority Leader in the 112th U.S. Congress. Congressman
Shuler was greeted with strong support from across the Democratic
Caucus, winning the votes of 43 of his colleagues.
"I am proud of the support I received from my fellow Democrats,"
said Rep. Shuler, who was nominated by Blue Dog Representatives Jim
Matheson (D-UT) and Mike Ross (D-AR) and seconded by Rep. Larry Kissell
(D-NC). "It was never about winning; it was about giving the moderates
a voice in this Caucus. We are strong because we are a big tent party,
not in spite of it. Today we proved that we will continue to be a force
to be reckoned with in the next Congress, and I am proud to be a leader
in that effort."
Reflecting on the week, Rep. Shuler remarked, "I have always prided
myself on my ability to work with people regardless of political
affiliation, and I look forward to getting to work in the next Congress
to develop middle-of-the-road solutions to the problems facing this