Kathleen Rice

New members, meet the ‘slush fund’
Many Hill freshmen are already establishing leadership PACs despite association with abuse

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., left, and Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., are among the more than two dozen freshman lawmakers who have established so-called leadership PACs, a type of fundraising committee critics say is too often abused. Ocasio-Cortez and Omar have pledged not to accept corporate PAC money. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The newest class of congressional lawmakers — some of whom campaigned against corruption and corporate influence in politics — is rapidly adopting a practice that critics say is among the swampier in Washington.

More than two dozen new members of the House and Senate — including prominent freshmen such as New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney — have established so-called leadership PACs, according to data compiled by government watchdog group Issue One. Leadership PACs are fundraising committees that allow lawmakers to raise money for their colleagues and candidates.

Here are the 15 Democrats who didn’t vote for Pelosi as speaker
Some Democratic House ran on pledge for new blood in Democratic leadership

A man wearing a "Madame Speaker" pin leaves the Speaker of the House office suite before the start of the 116th Congress on Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Nancy Pelosi of California was elected speaker of the House on Thursday, returning the gavel to her hands eight years after she lost it when Republicans took control of the chamber in 2011. 

There were 15 Democrats who voted against her in the roll call vote.

Shutdown, House Democrats’ divisions set tone as new era of divided government begins
As 116th Congress begins, partial shutdown, rules package, speaker defections cast a pall

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is interviewed by Savannah Guthrie for the Today Show in the Capitol on day 12 of the partial government shutdown on January 2, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A new era of divided government has arrived. Democrats officially take control of the House on Thursday as the 116th Congress convenes on the 13th day of a partial government shutdown.

The day’s floor proceedings will offer a preview of what’s to come over the next two years as House Democrats define how far left their caucus will tilt heading into the 2020 cycle and decide whether there’s any room to cooperate with President Donald Trump as he seeks re-election.

Pelosi Agrees to Deal Limiting Her Speakership to 4 Years
Caucus may not formally adopt leadership term limits but Pelosi agrees to hold herself to a maximum of two more terms

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has agreed to limit her pending speakership to a maximum of two more terms to win the support of five members who otherwise opposed her bid.(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 11:21 p.m.Nancy Pelosi is doing exactly what she said she wouldn’t in order to secure the votes she needs to be elected speaker — putting an end date on her tenure as the top House Democratic leader. 

Under an agreement reached with seven Democrats who opposed her speaker bid, Pelosi will back term limits for the top three Democratic leaders. The limit she has agreed to will prevent her from serving as speaker beyond another four years. 

Pelosi Not Interested in Compromising on Succession Plan for Her Speakership
Speaker hopeful says her opponents shouldn’t get to dictate when she retires

From left, Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., talk after the incoming House Democratic leadership team posed for a group photo in the Rayburn Room in the Capitol on Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said Friday she doesn’t see a way in which she’d compromise with the group of members who oppose her speaker bid unless she specifies a clear succession plan. 

“Between saying when I’m going to retire or not? I don’t think so,” the California Democrat said when asked whether there is a middle ground to be found on the question of when she will relinquish the speaker’s gavel if members vote Jan. 3 to give it to her again. 

Sweet Smell of Succession, House Democrats Edition
The upward mobility of people who played the leadership game

From left, Rep.-elect Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, Reps. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., and Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, arrive Thursday for the House Democrats’ leadership elections in the Longworth Building. Bustos went on to win the race for Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

For those House Democrats frustrated that Nancy Pelosi won’t provide them (Seth Moulton, Kathleen Rice, Tim Ryan) with a succession plan that entails her leaving and someone, anyone else taking over, consider — wait for it — this week’s House Democratic Caucus leadership elections

Let’s back up for a second. 

House Democrats Settle on Top Leaders, but Fight Over Speakership Remains
Pelosi gets overwhelming numbers for speaker bid

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., leaves the CVC Auditorium during a break in the House Democrats’ organizational caucus meetings on Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats decided on their top leaders Wednesday — all except the highest-ranking one. Nancy Pelosi overwhelmingly secured the caucus’s nomination for speaker, but a sizable group of opponents appears determined to keep the California Democrat from officially claiming the gavel on Jan. 3. 

Pelosi got 203 votes on the caucus ballot, but her allies believe that’s far lower than what she can earn on the floor. There were 32 “no” votes and three blanks. New York Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, who is supporting Pelosi, was absent. 

Pelosi Wins Democratic Caucus Nomination for Speaker
California Democrat and her allies want the caucus to unify around her for Jan. 3 floor vote

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California won her caucus’s nomination to be speaker of the House for the 116th Congress. She still needs to win a Jan. 3 floor vote to be elected speaker. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

California Rep. Nancy Pelosi, who has served 16 years as House Democratic leader, is on her way to securing another two after winning the Democratic Caucus’s nomination for speaker Wednesday. 

The outcome was never in doubt given that no one was running against Pelosi for the top leadership post and the simple-majority threshold required to win the caucus’s nomination is an easy bar to meet for the veteran vote counter. 

Pelosi and Her Opponents Downplay Importance of Caucus Vote in Speaker Battle
Secret ballot may not provide a clear picture on how much support Pelosi will have on the floor

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is confident the closed-door Democratic Caucus leadership elections Wednesday will prove she has strong support for her speaker bid. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and the small contingent of members who oppose her are both heading into Wednesday’s leadership elections knowing she’ll emerge as the caucus’s nominee for speaker.

But the two sides still have different expectations for what will happen in a Jan. 3 floor vote five weeks from now, as Pelosi remains confident she’ll have the support of the majority of the House to secure the gavel and her opponents are still predicting she won’t.

Pelosi Rebel Seth Moulton Gets Pushback at Massachusetts Town Hall
Crowd at Amesbury event dotted with pro-Pelosi protesters

Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., heard from protesters who aren’t happy with his opposition to Nancy Pelosi’s speaker bid. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Seth Moulton, one of a handful of Democrats leading the crusade against House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s bid to reclaim the speaker’s gavel when Democrats take back the majority in January, caught heat at a town hall in his district on Monday.

“The majority of Americans want this change. The majority of Democrats want this change,” Moulton told constituents at a town hall in Amesbury, Massachusetts, to loud jeers of “No.”