Speaker sendoff: Pelosi granted new title and Capitol room

State of the Union
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., talks with Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., and Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., after President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) Susan Walsh/AP

Speaker sendoff: Pelosi granted new title and Capitol room

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House Democrats have given House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a new title and introduced a resolution to rename a historic caucus room in her honor as a tribute to her two decades leading the conference.

As Pelosi prepares to step down from her leadership role as the new Congress is ushered in come January, House Democrats are preparing to welcome in a new generation of leadership, likely to be led by Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY). But as Pelosi continues on as a rank-and-file member of the lower chamber, the party is signaling she will have an honored place within the House conference.

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House Administration Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) introduced a resolution on Tuesday that would designate the historic caucus room located in the House Cannon Building as the “Speaker Nancy Pelosi Caucus Room.’’ Such resolutions only require a simple majority in the House to be passed, meaning the legislation could take effect before the new year when Republicans take control of the House and Pelosi steps down from her leadership position.

The caucus room is significant among House Democrats as it is the room where the Jan. 6 Committee presented its findings from its investigation into the Capitol riot. Lofgren called the renaming a “small tribute to a towering figure” who “has been a singular force for good throughout her 35 years in the House of Representatives.”

“She has dedicated her life to the dignity of the American people, to the defense of our Democracy, and always foremost — to the children and the posterity of our Nation,” Lofgren said in a statement.

Meanwhile, lawmakers on the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee unanimously voted on Wednesday to grant Pelosi the honorific title of “Speaker Emerita,” with committee co-chairman Rep. Eric Swalwell calling her “the most consequential legislator Congress has ever known.”

“We are lucky she will remain in our ranks,” he added.

The tributes come as House Democrats are set to hold their leadership elections on Wednesday when Jeffries is expected to succeed Pelosi as the party leader — a historic move that would make the New York Democrat the first black lawmaker to be elevated as the leader of one of the two major parties in either chamber of Congress.

Pelosi announced in mid-November she would be stepping from her leadership post but that she would remain in the House representing California’s 12th Congressional District.

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Just minutes after Pelosi announced her plans to step down, her two top deputies also signaled they would make way for the next generation of Democratic leadership. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) announced he would step down from the No. 2 post after the current session of Congress expires, and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC) said he would remain in leadership but as assistant Democratic leader.

The moves will allow Jeffries, Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark (D-MA), and Democratic Caucus Vice Chairman Pete Aguilar (D-CA) to rise to the top three spots after the closed-door leadership elections on Wednesday.

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