House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Thursday the term limits deal she struck with her detractors will still allow her to stay a “long time.”
“I feel very comfortable about what they are proposing, and I feel very responsible to do that, whether it passes or not,” she said at her weekly press conference.
In exchange for support for her speaker bid, Pelosi agreed to three terms for top Democratic leadership, which includes her, and her top two deputies — incoming House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and incoming House Majority Whip James Clyburn — even though the two men were not part of these negotiations.
The agreement stipulates that the leaders could serve a fourth and final term if they are elected with two-thirds of the caucus.
Since the deal is retroactive, Pelosi, Hoyer, and Clyburn would all be entering into their third term in January. Still, they could all serve a fourth term with support of two-thirds of the caucus.
Pelosi said Thursday the so-called rebel group in the negotiations wanted six months, but she pitched one term.
However, in order for the term limits proposal to officially take effect, it must be voted on by the Democratic caucus. That vote will happen on February 15, well after the speaker vote on January 3.
Given some significant opposition to term limits — including from Clyburn and Hoyer — it’s unclear whether the term limits proposal will pass in the caucus.
If it fails, Pelosi is still pledging to limit herself to two more terms at the most — which was a key part of the negotiations.
Hoyer and Clyburn, however, have not made that pledge. Hoyer has been forcefully outspoken against term limits and said this week that Pelosi was not negotiating for him during these talks.
“Pelosi made the deal,” he said Thursday morning when asked for his reaction to the agreement.
In return for agreeing to the term limits, Pelosi will get seven more votes for her speakership bid in January. She’s now won over more than half of the 16 Democrats who originally signed a letter vowing to oppose her for speaker.
While there are other Democrats who are still likely to oppose Pelosi on the House floor, it’s widely believed she has the numbers now, thanks to the deal, to get to the 218 votes she needs on January 3.