House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s talk last week about how voters “handed Democrats a mandate for action” has already proven to be hollow, as party leadership desperately tried to hold its fragile majority in the lower chamber.
Democrats have won 219 seats in the House, with 218 needed to hold the majority — the party held 233 seats in the 2020 Congress. The Republican Party holds 203 seats, flipping at least 12, with 13 races yet to be called — this occurring as Joe Biden oddly drew more votes than President Trump.
Operating on the belief that Biden will be the next president — the election outcome remains in flux as the Trump campaign pursues legal actions in response to claims of voting improprieties — Democrat leaders dissuaded its House members from leaving to work for a Biden administration at a caucus meeting last week, the New York Post reported.
“Nancy is telling House members, ‘Now is not the time to leave,’” said a party official who was briefed by Democratic congressional members.
SCOOP: Concerned by their shrinking House majority, Speaker Pelosi and Steny Hoyer have been warning Democratic lawmakers not to accept key posts with the Biden administration.
— Ebony Bowden (@ebonybowden) November 16, 2020
The Post cited another House insider to say that House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., is urging Democrats to stay put and that he has told Biden’s transition team to look elsewhere because of the slim majority they have following the election.
“It’s not helpful to talk about that,” a member of Democratic leadership reportedly said on last week’s call, according to the newspaper.
“The feeling is: don’t make rash decisions about going to the administration without first considering consequences to the caucus,” a Democratic insider familiar with the call said.
The source said the Democratic House leadership’s “zeitgeist” is that their majority is “razor-thin.”
The 80-year-old speaker has come under fire for losing a number of seats the party was expected to hold, and there has been talk that Pelosi may have to scramble to get the votes needed to retain her gavel.
And with the hard-left faction of the party jockeying for influence in a Biden White House, radical progressives with no loyalty to Pelosi may jump at the chance to join.
Naturally, Pelosi’s office is denying reports that she is pressuring House Democrats not to, clinging to the myth of a mandate.
“This is completely false,” spokesman Drew Hammill said, according to the Post. “The Speaker wants the full contribution of House Democrats to the Biden-Harris mandate and to the future represented in the administration.”
The Biden transition team is reportedly looking at a bipartisan list of 20 lawmakers serving in the House — if any of these members join a potential Biden administration, a special election would be held to fill the seat.
Here’s a quick sampling of responses to the story from Twitter:
Nancy I have some good newshttps://t.co/fYCK9rFa53
— Helsingor (@Helsingor) November 16, 2020
Why they’ll just lose the House in 2022 by a large margin lol
— Brian Barney (@bbarney22) November 16, 2020
Den of thieves.
Pretty sure any one of them will jump at the chance.
Love seeing her squirm.
— ConfusedCritter (@MuddledGov) November 16, 2020
Sounds like she’s a little shaky about the “election”
— Angry_Traveler (@Angry_Traveler) November 16, 2020
“We have a mandate (but pls don’t force any special elections)”
— Official *insert UGA QB* Heisman Campaign Acct (@idiggedydawg) November 16, 2020
They should tell her they’ll stay if there’s a new Speaker.
— David G (@radical6216) November 16, 2020
Stay on my sinking ship we have lots of alcohol
— Maverick (@MapotherSeal) November 16, 2020