Terri Sewell on House Speaker race: ‘I’m a supporter of Nancy Pelosi’
In an appearance on CNN on Saturday, Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Birmingham) acknowledged her support for current House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to be the next House Speaker when the new Congress is sworn in early next year.
There had been some question as to whether or not Sewell would back Pelosi’s bid to be House Speaker once again. Prior inquiries by Yellowhammer News to Sewell about who she might support for speaker went unanswered.
However, Sewell said she believed those who led Democrats this last election back to the majority should be the ones leading the new Congress.
“I’m a supporter of Nancy Pelosi. I believe that this country elected for divided government and want a House majority. And I believe that the trifecta of leadership that brought us the House majority should be the leaders in the new Congress. So, I’ll be voting for Nancy Pelosi for speaker and Steny Hoyer for majority leader, and of course, my dear friend and colleague Jim Clyburn for majority whip.”
Anchor Christi Paul asked Sewell about the possibility of Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH) making a play for the House speakership, to which Sewell noted only Pelosi has formally announced her intentions to seek the seat and that she believed ultimately the House Democrats would be united in their support of one leadership team.
Partial transcript as follows:
PAUL: I want to ask you about Congresswoman Marcia Fudge from Ohio. She was asked if she’s concerned about the fact that there are many of the [Congressional Black Caucus] members that have pledged their support to Pelosi because we know that Congresswoman Fudge may be looking for that position herself.
Let’s listen to what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FUDGE: Most of them endorsed before they knew I was going to think about [running]. So no, absolutely not.
REPORTER: Could you flip those votes?
REPORTER: How many?
FUDGE: I don’t know. How many people endorsed her?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: What is your reaction to that?
SEWELL: Listen, Marcia Fudge is a great leader. She was an able and experienced leader. She ably led the CBC caucus, Congressional Black Caucus. She is truly a fighter and a voice of importance in our caucus. But she has not committed to running yet. There’s only one announced candidate, and that’s Nancy Pelosi.
PAUL: If she does, would you flip? As she indicated there that she thinks she could flip some votes.
SEWELL: Yeah, I think that it’s important that we — that we, as a caucus, come out united. I know that Marcia is committed to that as well. I think it’s really important that we stay focused on what the American people want, which is they want a government that’s going to actually work for the people. And I know that Marcia, as well as Nancy Pelosi, as well as our leadership team, will be laser-focused on making sure that we have an agenda that works for the American people and working families.
PAUL: There are people who do not support Congresswoman Pelosi. Interestingly enough, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez is one of them, Jahana Hayes of Connecticut do not support her. What does it say to you, that after all of the years she’s put into the House, all of the money she’s raised for the party that she has to fight for that position at this point in her career?
SEWELL: Look, I think that elections, leadership elections are often messy. But I think at the end of the day the Democratic Party will come together. Our caucus will come together behind the leadership that has led us to the majority, the current leadership. And that we will move forward on behalf of the American people. I think that’s critically important. You won’t hear me say anything bad about Marcia. Marcia’s awesome, and an amazing leader.
But I do believe that it’s important that we have the stable leadership that we currently have leading us forward. We need to be ready, day one, when we take back the House, to roll up our sleeves and fight to protect preexisting conditions, to make sure that we lower drug costs for the American people.
I stood on the Ways and Means Committee. I look forward to working on health, on trade. I also sit on the Intelligence Committee. I know that this is a — it’s important for the American people that we get to the bottom of the Russian investigation.
SEWELL: But we also bring back civility into this body. And I look forward to doing that and working with our leadership to do that.
Sewell also addressed the alleged killing of Jamal Khashoggi by the Saudi government and what role the House Intelligence Committee, on which Sewell serves, might play regarding oversight of the Trump’s administration’s response.