House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, walks past reporters at the Capitol after a classified briefing by CIA Director Gina Haspel to the House leadership about the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the involvement by the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Pelosi, Foes Seem Near Deal Likely Paving Her Way To Speaker

December 12, 2018 - 3:13 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — Rep. Nancy Pelosi and fellow Democrats who had tried derailing her effort to become House speaker seemed on the verge of an agreement that would all but ensure her election to the post, aides said Wednesday.

Assuming the accord is completed, Pelosi would seem to have a clear path to becoming the most powerful Democrat in government. That would give her a top role in confronting President Donald Trump during the upcoming 2020 presidential and congressional campaigns and would put a woman at the helm of next year's diverse crop of House Democrats.

As the price for winning decisive support from her opponents, Pelosi, D-Calif., would agree, in effect, to serve no more than four more years as speaker. Aides said that before announcing their support for Pelosi, rebellious Democrats were awaiting a statement from her to make sure her description of the proposal follows their ideas.

Asked in a brief interview if he would support Pelosi if the term-limit deal was completed, critic Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., said, "If there's a deal."

Aides said an agreement would all but certainly bring her the votes she'd need to be elected when the House convenes for the new Congress on Jan. 3. They spoke on condition of anonymity to describe private talks.

Pelosi has already been nominated by Democrats to be speaker. To formally win the job, she must win a majority of votes — probably 218 — when the full House votes. Republicans will likely solidly oppose her.

Under the plan, top House Democrats would be limited to four two-year terms in their posts, including terms they've already served while the party had the House majority. Pelosi was speaker when Democrats controlled the House from 2007 until January 2011.

To be nominated to a fourth term under the plan, Pelosi would need to garner a two-thirds majority of House Democrats. Several aides said they believed restlessness by younger members to move up in leadership would make that difficult for her to achieve.

Pelosi's opponents have said she and her top lieutenants should step aside for younger leaders.

Pelosi, No. 2 Democratic leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland and No. 3 leader James Clyburn of South Carolina are all in their late 70s. The new restrictions would apply to all of them.

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