- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 1, 2016

House Democrats rewrote internal rules governing their caucus Thursday in an attempt to assuage the concerns of members who tried to oust Nancy Pelosi from her leadership post and who demanded the party strike out in a new direction as it gears up for the 2018 election.

The changes give junior members a larger voice in leadership and grant the caucus more say in who heads the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Democratic Policy & Communications Committee — the campaign and messaging arms of House Democrats.

“The vital efforts of the leaders in these positions will be strengthened by the mandate of their colleagues, and I am eager to partner with them to tackle the work before our country and our caucus,” Mrs. Pelosi said in a statement.

The California Democrat announced the changes a day after she beat back a challenge from Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio by a 134-to-63 vote margin — extending her run as House Democratic leader and fueling speculation over whether her power is starting to wane thanks to a series of election setbacks.

Over the course of his two-week public relations push, Mr. Ryan said the party needed to develop an economic message that spoke more directly to the challenges facing working-class voters, and said that a leadership shakeup could help speed up those efforts.

In a nod to Mr. Ryan, Mrs. Pelosi announced Thursday that, under the new rules, freshman lawmakers will tap a newly elected member of Congress to sit in on leadership meetings, which also will now include a lawmaker who has served five terms or less.

She said the DPCC, now headed by Rep. Steve Israel of New York, will be expanded to three members that will be elected by the caucus. The caucus also will now elect the chairman of the DCCC, which is currently led by Rep. Ben Ray Lujan of New Mexico.

Previously, Mrs. Pelosi nominated candidates for the posts before they were ratified by the caucus.

Reps. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, Ruben Gallego of Arizona and Kathleen M. Rice of New York, who helped usher in the changes, celebrated the passage of the “dramatic reforms,” saying they would “increase the diversity of our leadership team and make our leadership accountable to our Members.”

“The changes adopted today are a true victory that will help us to empower our Members and make our Caucus stronger,” they said in a statement. “Democrats can’t afford to back down in the face of a Donald Trump presidency and the regressive agenda he stands for. Today’s outcome was a good first step toward our goal of reclaiming the majority in 2018.”


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