House Dems Will Likely Re-elect Veteran Leaders
House Democrats will take a preliminary, non-binding vote on their leadership team Wednesday.
Voters are putting House Democrats in power come January, and now those Democrats need to figure out who's going to lead them. Congressional leaders are responsible for more than just holding press conferences or sitting in the Oval Office with President Trump. Behind the scenes, these leaders are meticulously calculating the direction they take their party.
Topping the list is the Speaker of the House. The position, outlined in the Constitution, is the highest-ranking member of the House. They're also second in line to the presidency, after the vice president. The speaker appoints chairpersons and members of committees, sets the legislative calendar and determines what bills will be debated and voted on, and when. In other words, anything that gets done in the House has to get the speaker's approval first.
Current Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is the only one running for this job. It was already hers from 2007-2011. There has been pushback by some Democrats for new leadership, but they haven't put up a challenger.
The next position is the majority leader. They mostly take over the day-to-day speaker's work of keeping Congress running: controlling floor debates, setting schedules, and working with committees to get specific bills onto the floor for a vote. Congressman Steny Hoyer is running for this job. He held it once before when the Democrats were in power. Hoyer is also running unopposed.
Current Assistant Democratic Leader Jim Clyburn is vying for a new position: House majority whip. The whip counts votes, meaning it would be their job to get Democrats, and even Republicans, on board with certain pieces of legislation. Clyburn originally had a challenger but is also now running unopposed.
Assistant democratic leader, the No. 4 position, helps other leaders when needed. Rep. Ben Ray Luján is running unopposed.
The Democratic Caucus chair is in charge when the entire caucus meets. Congresswoman Barbara Lee is expected to beat Congressman Hakeem Jeffries.
Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is the most competitive of the races, with four members running. It's this person's job to make sure Democrats stay in the majority in 2020. They've got to get Democrats elected and recruit new people to run against Republicans.
Preliminary closed-door leadership elections take place Wednesday, but the real vote won't happen until January. Still, Wednesday's vote will be a good measure of who will likely take over once everyone's sworn in. Republicans have already chosen their minority leadership, though the members selected for those positions won't have nearly the same say.
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