As Republicans Seek New Speaker, Unrest Roils Democrats | NTK Network As Republicans Seek New Speaker, Unrest Roils Democrats

As Republicans Seek New Speaker, Unrest Roils Democrats

Paul Ryan might currently be grabbing the headlines, but keep your eyes on Steny Hoyer, the congressman who wants to succeed Nancy Pelosi.

By NTK Staff | 04.12.2018 @11:00am
As Republicans Seek New Speaker, Unrest Roils Democrats

Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) has stood by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s side for 15 years, but as news of Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) retirement dominates D.C., Hoyer’s position as the “heir apparent” to Pelosi is coming into question.

The Hill reported Thursday that there are “shifting winds” among Democrats in Congress that could put Hoyer’s ascension, should Pelosi eventually retire, into question. The problem? There’s a generational divide within the party. Hoyer, 78, was first elected to Congress in 1981.

“If you had asked me five years ago, ‘God forbid, if Nancy got hit by a bus, what would happen?’ I’d say to you Steny steps right in and wins. There’s just no question. Everyone thinks he’s earned it, they like him — no one could gainsay that,” said one veteran Democrat, speaking anonymously on the sensitive topic. “The problem is with time has come [the thought], ‘Now maybe we need them all to kind of [move on].’ ”

“It’s not about generation change. It’s longevity in office. Could we possibly benefit from some fresh ideas?” the lawmaker added. “There are a lot of people — I put myself in their numbers — who are pretty frustrated at the lack of pportunity to move up. So I don’t think it’s as sure a thing as it once was, with Steny. Not because of any antipathy to him personally. But because he’s older than Nancy.”

Rep. John Larson (D-CT) went on record as saying Hoyer has been Democrats’ “best spokesman” on the floor of the house, but that “there is a generational fervor that’s going on within our caucus and outside of here, and that outside game will have a lot of influence.”

Reporter Mike Lillis also got the reaction of Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) and an unnamed member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus:

“While I think Steny is the most articulate person for the Democratic Party, at this time, when I look at all the qualities that I think are necessary in leadership, in terms of going forward, I would pick Joe Crowley,” said Pascrell, referring to the 56-year-old New York Democrat.

A fourth Democrat, a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, said Pelosi stepping down would spark “a freewheeling free-for-all” for new leadership across the board, and Hoyer’s spot is “not guaranteed after that.”

So while Republicans no doubt will garner most of the headlines in the coming weeks and months and speculation grows about who will replace Ryan, keep an eye on the maneuverings on the Democratic side of the chamber for potentially even more upheaval.

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