Speaker Pelosi praises Hakeem Jeffries as likely replacement as House Democratic Leader

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) confirmed in a speech on Thursday what had already been widely anticipated — she would step aside from her role in House Democratic leadership and make room for a younger generation of leaders to step up in her place.

The most likely House Democrat to replace Pelosi appears to be Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), who currently chairs the House Democratic Caucus, Fox News reported.

Nothing has been made official yet, and other Democratic members could make a bid for the top leadership position, but the five-term congressman from New York City is broadly considered to be the odds-on favorite to be the House Minority Leader next year.

Jeffries will almost certainly have the unanimous support of the 50-member Congressional Black Caucus as well as most of the relatively moderate centrists of the Democratic Party, though he could face a potential leadership challenge from the far-left Congressional Progressive Caucus led by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA).

Jeffries likely to be joined by Reps. Clark and Aguilar

Axios reported that Jeffries’ ascension to be the Democratic leader in the House means that he will vault over at least two other senior members of the leadership team who could have made valid claims of their own for the top spot — current House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC).

However, both of them recently made it clear that they would step aside and clear the path for Jeffries, who would be the first black leader of either party in the House, with Hoyer stepping down from the leadership team altogether while Clyburn shifts over to an assistant/advisory position on the team.

Jeffries won’t be alone as a new leader for House Democrats, though, as he will most likely be joined by Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark (D-MA) and Democratic Caucus Vice Chair Pete Aguilar (D-CA).

According to Fox News, Clark will likely swap places with Clyburn, with her becoming the Minority whip and him becoming the assistant leader. Aguilar will likely be elevated to assume Jeffries’ current position as chair of the Democratic Caucus.

Pelosi heralds her likely successor and new leadership team

Speaker Pelosi released a statement Friday to both congratulate and praise the likely new Democratic leadership team for the next congressional term that begins in January.

“Yesterday, I said on the Floor that the time has come for a new generation to lead our magnificent House Democratic Caucus,” Pelosi said. “It is with pride, gratitude, and confidence in their abilities that I salute Chairman Hakeem Jeffries, Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark, and Vice Chairman Pete Aguilar for being ready and willing to assume this awesome responsibility.”

“In the 118th Congress, House Democrats will be led by a trio that reflects our beautiful diversity of our nation. Chair Jeffries, Assistant Speaker Clark, and Vice Chair Aguilar know that, in our Caucus, diversity is our strength and unity is our power,” she added. “A new day is dawning — and I am confident that these new leaders will capably lead our Caucus and the Congress.”

According to CNN, House Democrats will hold a closed-door caucus meeting on the Wednesday after Thanksgiving, Nov. 30, to conduct their leadership elections by way of secret ballots cast through an app by all members.

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