House Democrats will begin the next Congress with a leadership team that looks much like the one they have now if a deal struck between Nancy Pelosi and Jim Clyburn last night sticks. The essence of the plan: Pelosi will become Minority Leader, current Majority Leader Steny Hoyer will become Minority Whip and Clyburn -- the current Majority Whip -- will take a new number three job in the minority. Current Caucus Chair John Larson can remain in the Democrats' number four job in the new Congress.
Clyburn will take a newly created position called "Assistant Leader," according to a letter Pelosi sent to Democratic members today. As Roll Call reports, it's "unclear" what exactly the new position entails, or "whether the job is different from the Assistant to the Speaker position currently held by Rep. Chris Van Hollen."
The deal brings to an end a fight between Hoyer and Clyburn for the Whip job that threatened to mar Pelosi's expected transition into the House Democrats' top job when the Republicans take over in January. The final round of the Hoyer-Clyburn struggle came late last night when Pelosi threw her support behind Clyburn for the number three job.
It seems to be that Pelosi here, demonstrating actual leadership by coming to a compromise position, would have solved the party's intransigent issues and the Dems would be united and to move forward behind the new-found respect for Pelosi. Alas, these are Democrats: only happy when they are miserable.
Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC) is setting the stage for an official challenge to Nancy Peolsi's bid to lead the Democratic minority in the next Congress. Shuler, a moderate from the North Carolina mountains, will make his intentions official on the national stage this weekend, The Hill reports.
Shuler pitched himself as a moderate alternative to Pelosi as leader of the House caucus before she officially announced her run for Minority Leader in the next Congress.
Now, with most observers thinking Pelosi has the position locked up, Shuler appears ready to make good on his promise to take her on.
He "is scheduled to address his leadership plans during appearances on CNN's 'State of the Union' Sunday and MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program on Monday," The Hill's Mike O'Brien reports.
Pelosi's smart enough to deal with Shuler and the younger Blue Dogs who apparently aren't quite savvy enough to see they're being egged on by conservative concern trolls on purpose. Congressional egos are notoriously tetchy things, as such the Village will have no problem pushing Shuler to cause as much damage as possible because it gives them a story to run with and it gives him attention. Shuler on the other hand is going to find out just who his friends really are, and I'm betting he doesn't have nearly as many as he thinks he does.
Still, Shuler's attack can cause damage, so Pelosi's going to have to deal with him quickly. We've got bigger, slimier fish to fry.