Filemon Vela

Health care riders, farm payouts slow stopgap deal
Bill pulled from House Rules agenda late Tuesday afternoon

Montana Sen. Jon Tester is among those objecting to potential provisions in a stopgap spending bill needed to keep the government open after Sept. 30. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Trade assistance for farmers hit by retaliatory tariffs and the details of several health care program extensions were standing in the way of agreement on a stopgap funding measure Tuesday, sources said.

According to a senior Democratic aide, the bill was likely to include an increase in the Commodity Credit Corporation’s $30 billion borrowing cap that the Trump administration asked for earlier this month. But provisions on “accountability and transparency” were still under discussion, the aide said.

Exodus at the DCCC: Top aides quit House Democrats' campaign arm
Allison Jaslow, a close ally of Bustos, had started at the committee this cycle

Illinois Rep. Cheri Bustos, the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, flew back to Washington to meet with DCCC staff this week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairwoman Cheri Bustos announced the appointment of a new interim executive director Monday as she seeks to quell internal jousting between lawmakers and the committee about diversity representation in its upper ranks.

“Today has been a sobering day filled with tough conversations that too often we avoid, but I can say confidently that we are taking the first steps toward putting the DCCC back on path to protect and expand our majority, with a staff that truly reflects the diversity of our Democratic caucus and our party,” Bustos said in a statement.

They wanted term limits for leadership. Pelosi agreed. Now what?
Ed Perlmutter still hasn’t got a caucus vote. But he’s stopped pushing

Colorado Reps. Ed Perlmutter, center, pushed Speaker Nancy Pelosi to back term limits for senior Democratic leaders. For now, he’s dropping the proposal. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Ed Perlmutter, the lead negotiator for a group of Democrats who pushed Speaker Nancy Pelosi to agree to limit her leadership tenure to four more years, is no longer pushing for the Democratic Caucus to adopt leadership term limits as part of its rules. 

“We’re just letting it sit right now,” the Colorado Democrat said. 

House Democrats lose procedural vote to GOP minority for first time in months
Approval of Republican motion to recommit on Financial Services spending bill added a last-minute Iran amendment

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said the members of his caucus who voted for the GOP motion to recommit felt they had to support the Iran language. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Democratic majority on Wednesday lost a procedural vote to the Republican minority for the first time in four months, as 37 Democrats joined Republicans in adding a last-minute Iran amendment to the Financial Services spending bill.

The amendment was approved through a Republican motion to recommit, or MTR — a procedural tool of the minority used primarily for messaging.

Why 19 Democrats and 109 Republicans voted against the government funding deal
Democratic defections were mostly Hispanic Caucus members, progressives concerned about immigration enforcement

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joined 18 other House Democrats and 109 House Republicans in voting against the compromise spending package Thursday night. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats were just two votes short Thursday night of being able to clear a fiscal 2019 appropriations package without Republican help, while less than half of the GOP conference voted for the bill to avert another government shutdown.

That dynamic may foreshadow battles ahead as the new House Democratic majority will try to exert its influence over government spending while still having to deal with a Republican president and Senate. 

Pelosi Agrees to Deal Limiting Her Speakership to 4 Years
Caucus may not formally adopt leadership term limits but Pelosi agrees to hold herself to a maximum of two more terms

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has agreed to limit her pending speakership to a maximum of two more terms to win the support of five members who otherwise opposed her bid.(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 11:21 p.m.Nancy Pelosi is doing exactly what she said she wouldn’t in order to secure the votes she needs to be elected speaker — putting an end date on her tenure as the top House Democratic leader. 

Under an agreement reached with seven Democrats who opposed her speaker bid, Pelosi will back term limits for the top three Democratic leaders. The limit she has agreed to will prevent her from serving as speaker beyond another four years. 

With Opponents Dug In, Pelosi Has Little Room to Negotiate on Speaker Votes
At least 15 Pelosi opponents say they remain firm and will not vote ‘present’

Reps.-elect Max Rose, D-N.Y., left, and Jason Crow, D-Colo., pictured fist bumping at the new member office lottery on Nov. 30, are among the Democrats firmly opposed to Nancy Pelosi’s speaker bid. Rep.-elect Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., is among those who voted against Pelosi in caucus elections but appears open to supporting her on the floor. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

At least 15 Democrats resisting Nancy Pelosi’s speaker bid are holding firm in their opposition and say they plan to vote for someone other than the California Democrat during the Jan. 3 speaker election, providing Pelosi with little room to negotiate a victory.

With the House poised to have 235 Democrats seated on the opening day of the 116th Congress when the speaker election takes place, Pelosi can only afford to have 17 Democrats vote and say a name that is not hers to meet the 218-vote majority threshold. 

Pelosi Rebel Seth Moulton Gets Pushback at Massachusetts Town Hall
Crowd at Amesbury event dotted with pro-Pelosi protesters

Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., heard from protesters who aren’t happy with his opposition to Nancy Pelosi’s speaker bid. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Seth Moulton, one of a handful of Democrats leading the crusade against House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s bid to reclaim the speaker’s gavel when Democrats take back the majority in January, caught heat at a town hall in his district on Monday.

“The majority of Americans want this change. The majority of Democrats want this change,” Moulton told constituents at a town hall in Amesbury, Massachusetts, to loud jeers of “No.”

16 Pelosi Opponents Sign Letter Saying They Won't Vote For Her for Speaker
Opposition could spell trouble for Pelosi in speaker election on the floor

Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., pictured speaking to reporters in the Capitol on November 15, 2018, is one of 16 Democrats who signed a letter saying they will not vote for Nancy Pelosi for speaker. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 2:53 p.m. | Sixteen Democrats have signed a letter released Monday saying they will vote against Nancy Pelosi for speaker.

While the opposition would appear to be more votes than the California Democrat can afford to lose in a floor vote, two of the signees — Ben McAdams of Utah and Anthony Brindisi of New York — are in races that have yet to be called. 

Confidence Abounds Among Pelosi Supporters and Opponents — But One Side Will Lose
Anti-Pelosi contingent claims they have numbers to block Pelosi from becoming speaker

Nancy Pelosi is confident she will be the next speaker. Her opponents are confident they can block that. Someone is going to lose. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Two big questions surround the contingent of House Democrats opposing Nancy Pelosi’s bid for speaker: Are they bluffing when they say there are enough members prepared to vote against the California Democrat on the floor? And if they’re not, will that opposition hold until the Jan. 3 vote?

Leaders of the contingent, including Reps. Tim Ryan of Ohio, Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, Ed Perlmutter of Colorado, Filemon Vela of Texas and Kurt Schrader of Oregon, have all said they’re confident that when the 116th Congress begins on the third day of January, there will be more than enough Democrats ready to vote against Pelosi on the floor — not “present” or abstaining from voting — to prevent her from claiming the speaker’s gavel.