Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the first woman to lead the U.S. House, announced on Thursday that she will step down from party leadership.
“With great confidence in our caucus, I will not seek reelection to Democratic leadership in the next Congress,” Pelosi said in a speech on the House floor. “For me the hour has come for a new generation to lead the Democratic caucus that I so deeply respect.”
“I’m grateful that so many are ready and willing to shoulder this awesome responsibility,” she said.
Pelosi said she will continue to represent her San Francisco district in the House.
In her remarks, Pelosi warned that democracy is “majestic, but it is fragile” and said voters in 2022 sent a message to Congress that they would not support those who supported violence or insurrection.
She also applauded the chamber for becoming more diverse over the course of her 35-year career. When she first entered Congress in 1987, there were twelve women in the Democratic caucus and now there are ninety. “And we want more,” she said to applause.
In a message, President Biden said that “history will note her as the most consequential Speaker of the House of Representatives in history. America owes her a debt of gratitude for her service, patriotism, and dignity.”
When I think of Nancy Pelosi, I think of dignity.
History will note her as the most consequential Speaker of the House of Representatives in history – she is first, last, and always for the people. America owes her a debt of gratitude for her service, patriotism, and dignity. pic.twitter.com/U2xvEVC1E5
— President Biden (@POTUS) November 17, 2022
Nancy Pelosi steps down after Republicans win control of the House
Her decision comes a day after Republicans officially won control of the chamber in the 2022 midterms. Republican Kevin McCarthy has won the party’s nomination to be the speaker in the new Congress and is likely to succeed Pelosi.
CNN says House Democrats appear likely to choose New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, 52, to succeed Pelosi as leader, though Democrats won’t vote until November 30th.
Pelosi became minority leader, the title held by the person leading the opposition in the House, in 2003. The Democrats then took control of the House for the first time in more than a decade in 2006, and she became the first woman to lead a major party in either chamber of Congress.
She became minority leader again four years later but returned to the Speaker’s chair in 2019.
Nancy Pelosi served twice as U.S. House Speaker and was the highest-ranking and most powerful elected woman in U.S. history until Kamala Harris became vice president. Here are some of Pelosi's most memorable moments https://t.co/XC3pnW6FtA pic.twitter.com/FZsujMPAMk
— Reuters (@Reuters) November 18, 2022