Brian Higgins

With Opponents Dug In, Pelosi Has Little Room to Negotiate on Speaker Votes
At least 15 Pelosi opponents say they remain firm and will not vote ‘present’

Reps.-elect Max Rose, D-N.Y., left, and Jason Crow, D-Colo., pictured fist bumping at the new member office lottery on Nov. 30, are among the Democrats firmly opposed to Nancy Pelosi’s speaker bid. Rep.-elect Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., is among those who voted against Pelosi in caucus elections but appears open to supporting her on the floor. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

At least 15 Democrats resisting Nancy Pelosi’s speaker bid are holding firm in their opposition and say they plan to vote for someone other than the California Democrat during the Jan. 3 speaker election, providing Pelosi with little room to negotiate a victory.

With the House poised to have 235 Democrats seated on the opening day of the 116th Congress when the speaker election takes place, Pelosi can only afford to have 17 Democrats vote and say a name that is not hers to meet the 218-vote majority threshold. 

California Rep.-elect Gil Cisneros Signs Onto Anti-Pelosi Letter
Anti-Pelosi letter back up to 16 signatures but other opposition to her speaker bid also remains

California Rep.-elect Gil Cisneros signed onto a letter of Democrats who say they will vote against Nancy Pelosi for speaker on the floor. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

California Rep.-elect Gil Cisneros has signed onto a letter of Democrats who say they want new leadership and who will not vote for Nancy Pelosi for speaker.

In a statement noting he has ”tremendous respect” for Pelosi and her achievements for the Democratic Party, Cisneros said the voters in his 39th District made it clear they want to see change in Washington. “I intend to follow through on my commitment to support new leadership,” he said. “Our Democratic caucus is comprised of many dedicated individuals who are more than capable of leading our Party and the House of Representatives into the future.”

Pelosi Moves Closer to Speaker’s Gavel After Higgins’ Abrupt Reversal
N.Y. Democrat is promised action on infrastructure, Medicare legislation

Rep. Brian Higgins, D-N.Y., announced Wednesday he will support Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s bid to become speaker in January after the two struck a deal. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In an abrupt reversal after signing on to a letter Monday opposing Nancy Pelosi’s bid for speaker, New York Rep. Brian Higgins announced he will support her after striking a deal with the California Democrat.

Higgins’ decision is a major blow to a group of House Democrats who want Pelosi to drop her pursuit of the speaker’s gavel so a new generation can emerge just as the party is returning to partial power in Washington. On Monday, Higgins was among 16 Democrats who signed a letter addressed to their colleagues, saying that the midterms showed voters “want to see real change in Washington” and that Democratic candidates “promised to change the status quo.”

16 Pelosi Opponents Sign Letter Saying They Won't Vote For Her for Speaker
Opposition could spell trouble for Pelosi in speaker election on the floor

Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., pictured speaking to reporters in the Capitol on November 15, 2018, is one of 16 Democrats who signed a letter saying they will not vote for Nancy Pelosi for speaker. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 2:53 p.m. | Sixteen Democrats have signed a letter released Monday saying they will vote against Nancy Pelosi for speaker.

While the opposition would appear to be more votes than the California Democrat can afford to lose in a floor vote, two of the signees — Ben McAdams of Utah and Anthony Brindisi of New York — are in races that have yet to be called. 

14 Democrats Push Back on Raising Caucus Threshold for Speaker Race
Caucus threshold should remain simple majority; members should unite behind winner, they say

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is expected to run for speaker again. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A group of 14 Democrats who support Nancy Pelosi for speaker are pushing back on a proposal from some of their anti-Pelosi colleagues to raise the caucus threshold for nominating a speaker candidate. 

House Democratic Caucus rules make all of their elected leadership positions subject to a simple-majority vote. Then, under House rules, the speaker nominee chosen by the caucus needs to win votes from a majority of the entire chamber — 218, if everyone is present and voting. 

Lawmakers Across the Aisle Fight Canadian Newsprint Tariffs
Import tax on paper is hurting local news, members tell International Trade Commission

Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., speaks with Roll Call in the Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Nineteen members of Congress spoke Tuesday against the Commerce Department’s tariffs on Canadian newsprint, telling the U.S. International Trade Commission the import tax hurt local newspapers.

The bipartisan group of legislators asked the ITC to reverse tariffs the Commerce Department imposed on Canadian newsprint imports. Opponents of the tariffs say they would deal a major blow to local newspapers, which already struggle to stay afloat, by increasing the cost of newsprint.

New York Democrat Jokes He May Sleep in D.C. Homeless Shelter
Brian Higgins responded to proposed legislation that would stop members from sleeping in offices

Rep. Brian Higgins, D-N.Y., sleeps in his congressional office. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Brian Higgins said he can’t afford housing in Washington and joked that a homeless shelter could be an option for him.

“A homeless shelter may work for me. That would probably work, yeah,” the New York Democrat said to a reporter, NY State of Politics reported.

Rep. Patrick Meehan, Staple of the Game, Missing From Congressional Hockey Roster
The 10th annual game puck drops Thursday

Pennsylvania Rep. Patrick Meehan, right, battles for the puck during the fourth annual Congressional Hockey Challenge in 2012. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers are gearing up for the 10th annual Congressional Hockey Challenge on Thursday with one major teammate missing from their roster.

Arguably Congress’ biggest hockey fanatic and a former professional hockey referee, Rep. Patrick Meehan is not slated to play. The Pennsylvania Republican is facing accusations of sexual harassment and using taxpayer funds to settle a misconduct case with a former staffer. He is not running for re-election.

With Levin Leaving, Dan Kildee Seeks Ways and Means Spot
Third-term Michigan Democrat spent the weekend lobbying leadership

Rep. Dan Kildee, second from left, is angling for a spot on the Ways and Means Committee now that fellow Michigan Rep. Sander M. Levin, second from right, isn’t seeking re-election in 2018. Also pictured, from left, Virginia Rep. Robert C. Scott and Michigan Sens. Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow.  (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With longtime House Ways and Means member Sander M. Levin announcing Saturday he won’t run for re-election next year, his fellow Michigan Democratic Rep. Dan Kildee spent the weekend lobbying leadership for a spot on the influential panel.

Kildee sent letters to each member of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee, which is responsible for making committee assignments after the midterms.

Word on the Hill: It’s November
Congress in costumes, and McCaskill’s husband’s heart ‘working better’

The last month of fall is here. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Happy November! Now that Halloween is over, Thanksgiving is only 23 days away.

November brings a recess in both chambers — on the 10th for Veterans Day, and the week of the 20th for Thanksgiving.