Rumblings of removing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) from House leadership have been growing for months, and several top Democrats fear that ongoing coronavirus issues may cost her the job in the near future.
A combination of unprecedented Dem losses in the November election combined with Joe Biden’s drafting of a number of Democrat representatives means that Pelosi’s power is hanging by a thread.
The Hill noted that COVID-19 further complicates Pelosi’s ability to garner enough votes to remain in power, writing on Saturday:
The combination of factors creates the chance that Democrats could face a dilemma on Jan. 3 in which Pelosi locks up the Democratic support to remain Speaker, but coronavirus concerns — illnesses, quarantines or otherwise — prevent a sufficient number of them from being in the Capitol to log their votes.
“Let’s say, just theoretically, we had six or eight people out with COVID, and the Republicans have none. They probably could elect [House Minority Leader Kevin] McCarthy (R-CA),” speculated Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY).
Pelosi already faced an uphill battle in her 2018 bid for House Speaker, with several progressive and moderate Democrats voting against her.
This time around, at least three House Dems — Reps. Conor Lamb (D-PA), Jared Golden (D-ME), and Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) — are publically declaring their intention to oppose Pelosi’s reelection.
Progressives like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) have expressed their displeasure with Pelosi’s leadership, though they have stopped short of joining their moderate colleagues in outright calling for her ouster.
“There’s the usual suspects who make it part of their brand to vote against her,” Jim Himes (D-CT) told The Hill on Saturday. “But I think there’s an awareness — and there’s certainly a message coming from within the caucus — that this may not be a year for the usual branding.”