Term limits for Pelosi's allies?
Thursday, November 11, 2010; 9:23 PM
Will the minority House Democrats come to order?
As opposition to Rep. Nancy Pelosi's bid to remain the Democrats' leader continues to simmer, some senior House Democrats are contemplating a move to make sure there's new leadership on the party caucus's powerful steering and policy committee.
A draft letter, being floated informally for comment, asks Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Mass.), chairman of the caucus's committee on organization, study and review, to declare that two of Pelosi's staunchest House allies, Reps. George Miller (Calif.) and Rosa DeLauro (Conn.) cannot be reappointed as committee co-chairmen.
Pelosi (Calif.), as speaker or party leader, chairs the committee and appoints the co-chairmen.
The letter notes that "Rule 42-I states that 'no member shall be appointed or elected to more than two consecutive full terms' on the steering committee." The rule has been in place and reaffirmed for many years, the draft letter says, because "it values a diverse and representative membership" on the committee by having a "periodic injection of new experiences and perspectives."
While Miller and DeLauro have done a fine job in the past four years when the Dems were in the majority and before that, the letter says, "our caucus needs new members to fill these important leadership positions," and House Democrats should "abide by our own rules and uphold the important principle of term limits" on the committee.
So invoking the rule means Pelosi couldn't reappoint Miller and DeLauro, right? Well, maybe not.
"It is all up to interpretation," one Democratic aide told us. Most everything on the Hill is. The rule might not apply to the co-chairmen, the aide suggested.
"No member...more than two...terms?" Maybe they really meant two-ish?
Sign of the times
A scrum of dozens of reporters and cameramen waited patiently late Wednesday morning in the hall by the Will Rogers statue near the House floor, awaiting Speaker-to-be Rep. John Boehner's news conference.
There was hardly any room for anyone to walk by in the jammed hallway.
Just then, minutes before Boehner is due to come out, here comes Nancy Pelosi, the outgoing speaker, along with aides and security, trying to squeeze through on the way to the speaker's office. They had to go single file to get through.