Friday, March 24Welcome

US House Democrats elect first black party leader to Congress

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, the new leader of the Democratic Party, stands alongside Rep. Catherine Clarke, the new minority whip, and Rep. Pete Aguilar, the new chairman of the Democratic caucuses, on Capitol Hill Wednesday. increase. Photo by Jennifer Shutt/State Newsroom.

Three U.S. House Democrats, who have led their party through four presidential elections and thousands of votes, officially announced their passed the torch to the next generation.

House Democrats have nominated New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries as their leader. Jeffries, 52, will go down in history as the first black member of Congress to lead a party in Congress.

Massachusetts Rep. Catherine Clarke, 59, was elected to the whip, and California Rep. Pete Aguilar, 43, was elected caucus speaker. The trio will take over in January, when Congress convenes for its next session and the Democrats move into the minority.

All three elected leaders ran uncontested, ensuring a smooth transition that had been planned for years, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) announced earlier this month that He did not move forward until after he announced that he was stepping down as party leader. Pelosi, 82, will remain in Congress with the title “Honorary Speaker.”

New York Democrat and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer congratulated fellow New Yorker Jeffries.

“Hakeem Jeffries’ elevation to House Democratic leader is a turning point in the history of the United States Congress,” Schumer said from the Senate floor. “Never before has an African-American leader, or a leader of a person of color, held the top position of either party in either House.”

Schumer, who lives in Brooklyn, said he was excited to work with Jeffries, who represents a portion of Brooklyn in the House of Representatives, on Democratic priorities in the upcoming Congress.

“He’s someone I know ready to listen and keep an open mind while upholding our Democratic values,” Schumer said. I know I can work with the other side whenever the need arises.”

Mr. Schumer said he looks forward to talking “with our neighbors in Brooklyn four to six times a day, like we did with Speaker of the House Pelosi.”

Hoyer congratulates Jeffries

The second-ranked House Democrat, Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer, also decided to step down as leader, paving the way for Clark to move up from the role of assistant speaker, currently in the fourth-ranked leadership slot. rice field.

Hoyer, 83, will remain in the next Congress and return to the Appropriations Committee, which determines more than $1.5 trillion in government spending annually.

Hoyer also congratulated Jeffries, calling the new Democratic leader “an accomplished consensus-builder, an effective legislator, and an experienced leader.”

Mr. Hoyer said Mr. Jeffries “is well-equipped to help House Democrats do more for the people in the 118th Congress and regain a majority in 2024.”

South Carolina Rep. Jim Cliburn, 82, is currently the Democratic whip and is on track to maintain leadership, moving from his current role as a third-ranked Democrat to fourth in the House and planned to assume the title of Deputy Leader of the Democratic Party. .

That transition was uncontested until Wednesday morning when Rhode Island Rep. David Cicillin challenged Clyburn for the role.

“I think we need LGBTQ+ members on the leadership table, especially when so much is at stake for our community in the next few years,” Cicilline, 61, wrote in the letter. “There is no doubt that the Republicans, who have a new majority in the House, will try to push the same anti-LGBTQ+ agenda that we have seen at the state level.”

The Democratic caucuses are set to vote in the Cicilin v. Clyburn election on Thursday.

“against extremism”

Jeffries, Clarke and Aguilar said they will work with Republicans if needed following Wednesday’s invincible election for the top three leadership slots, but they have not moved the country too far to the right. He said he would challenge the Republican Party if he tried.

“We look forward to partnering with the other side of the aisle and finding opportunities to work together wherever possible, but we also oppose extremism,” Jeffries said.

Clark said the door to the Democratic Party is “open to any member of Congress across the aisle who wants to work for the American people.”

But she cautioned that if Republicans “want to divide, obstruct, have a political theater instead of finding the solutions the American people want, we are here to stand against it.”

Aguilar said he didn’t understand what his election as a leader meant for the Latino community and vowed to fight extremism.

“What we are fighting is MAGA extremism. This election has clearly heard from the American people that they want us to get things done for them,” he said. rice field. “They want us to cut the costs they have and they want us to root out all forms of extremism, so that will be our mission.”

“Unfortunately, on the other side of the aisle, there are people from the extreme right of the country who attended white supremacist conventions,” Aguilar continued. “And we must continue to oppose those ideas as well.”

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