Pelosi outlined a number of issues facing Congress, and her continued commitment “for the children” to address issues like health care, climate change policies, affordable housing, and infrastructure. She also stressed the immediate threat posed to our democracy. “This election is crucial,” Pelosi said in the announcement. “Nothing less is a stake than our democracy,” said Pelosi, referencing the Jan. 6 insurrection. “But as we say: ‘We don’t agonize, we organize!’ And that is why I am running for reelection for Congress and respectfully seek your support.”
Pelosi did not say whether she would run for speaker again. In her bid for the speakership in 2018, she agreed to serving just another two terms as speaker, securing the votes of a number of Democrats who were pushing for a new generation to take over leadership.
When she announced the deal, Pelosi said: “I made it clear that I see myself as a bridge to the next generation of leaders, a recognition of my continuing responsibility to mentor and advance new Members into positions of power and responsibility in the House Democratic Caucus.” The caucus considered a rule to limit senior leadership to just three terms, an idea that fizzled out and was never enacted. However, Pelosi said at the time, “I am comfortable with the proposal and it is my intention to abide by it whether it passes or not.”
It could be moot if Republicans take the House in the 2022 midterms, as is definitely possible if not probable. House Democrats are retiring in record numbers and redistricting around the country is further tilting the gerrymandered advantage for Republicans. The critical legislation to prevent that is stalled in Congress thanks to the dysfunctional Senate.
It’s a fraught time for President Joe Biden and for congressional Democrats, with the voting rights and elections reform bills held up, the critical Build Back Better plan in limbo, the worsening climate crisis, increased hostilities with Russia, and of course the seemingly never-ending COVID pandemic, all of which undoubtedly payed into Pelosi’s decision to stay on. Democrats are going to need experienced leaders moving forward.
She has proven remarkably effective in her terms as speaker, holding the caucus together to pass landmark legislation like the Affordable Care Act and the American Rescue Plan. With the very thin margin she has in the House now, she’s managed to advance critical legislation, achievements that keep hitting the brick wall of the dysfunctional Senate. So with what promises to be another tumultuous term for Congress following this year’s midterms, Pelosi undoubtedly feels a responsibility to put her experience to work.