Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday said she will no longer serve as the top Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives, with her departure coming after her party lost its majority in the chamber in this month’s midterm elections.
“With great confidence in our caucus, I will not seek re-election to Democratic leadership in the next Congress,” Pelosi said during a speech on the House floor.
“For me, the hour’s come for a new generation to lead the Democratic caucus that I so deeply respect, and I’m grateful that so many are ready and willing to shoulder this awesome responsibility.”
She said she will continue to represent her district in the House.
Some Democratic lawmakers have long called for new leadership in the House, wanting the California Democrat and her deputies to make way for the next generation. Pelosi, 82, has led the chamber’s Democrats in both the majority and minority for about two decades — since January 2003.
New York Democratic Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, 52, is seen as a frontrunner to become House minority leader.
Pelosi is the country’s first female speaker and has been in Congress for about 35 years. She had made a deal with House members to serve for two more terms as leader — or four years — after Democrats scored a majority in that chamber of Congress in the 2018 midterms.
Pelosi said earlier this month that family issues would be key in her decision about her future plans. Her husband, Paul Pelosi, was attacked by an intruder in their San Francisco home last month and faces a long recovery from his injuries.
While Republican hopes for a strong red wave on Election Day — which was Nov. 8 — have been dashed, the Associated Press projected Wednesday that the GOP had won enough House seats to control that chamber of Congress.
The GOP’s slim majority is expected to cause trouble for the party’s leaders in the House. Meanwhile, the battle for control of the U.S. Senate went to the Democrats late Saturday.
The major laws passed during Pelosi’s time as speaker have included 2010’s Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare and which overhauled the U.S. healthcare XLV, +0.19% system; 2010’s Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act that targeted banks KBE, -1.07% ; and 2021’s Infrastructure PAVE, -1.05% Investment and Jobs Act.