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Midterms 2018

Ocasio-Cortez Supports Pelosi for Speaker All of a Sudden

As long as the California congresswoman 'remains the most progressive candidate,' the young New Yorker is behind her

Fascinating to watch, these turns toward longtime lawmaker and dealmaker Nancy Pelosi by House Democrats, both current representatives and those newly elected and preparing to be sworn in this January.

So much for the so-called Democratic rebellion against her — and all those calls for “new leadership” and a “new direction” for the party.

“All of the challenges to Leader Pelosi are coming from her right, in an apparent effort to make the party even more conservative and bent toward corporate interests,” tweeted out newly elected lawmaker Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday.

The upstart congresswoman-elect, who is 29, continued in that vein, “Hard pass.”

“So long as Leader Pelosi remains the most progressive candidate for Speaker, she can count on my support.”

This is the same Ocasio-Cortez, by the way, who recently participated in a protest right outside Pelosi’s office on climate change.

Ocasio-Cortez also tweeted this: “I agree that our party should, and must, evolve our leadership. But changed leadership should reflect an actual, evolved mission; namely, an increased commitment to the middle + working class electorate that put us here. Otherwise it’s a just new figure with the same problems.”

This came from her as well: “I hope that we can move swiftly to conclude this discussion about party positions, so that we can spend more time discussing party priorities: voting rights, health care, wages, climate change, housing, cannabis legalization, good jobs, etc.”

Here’s how one news outlet put it: “Opponents of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s bid to reclaim the speaker’s gavel were dealt a new set of blows Wednesday, as a pair of Democrats — including a longtime critic — publicly backed the California congresswoman,” as NBC News noted.

Related: Pelosi’s Bid for Speaker Strengthens as Another Opponent Flips

Also on Wednesday, Rep. Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.) announced his endorsement of her.

“Power has been too consolidated atop the caucus and it was my hope that along with like-minded members, we would forge a new leadership structure,” Higgins said in a statement provided to Politico.

“Following conversations with Nancy and other caucus leaders, I have renewed confidence that more voices will be heard, that members will each have greater opportunities to advance policies meaningful to the communities and country we love. ”

Higgins, significantly, had opposed Pelosi for speaker for months.

But he somehow explained his change of heart by noting that when he talked with her, she agreed to support his two main legislative priorities, a major infrastructure package, plus legislation dealing with lowering the Medicare enrollment age to 50.

“Some will ask why I have changed my position,” Higgins went on to say.

“The answer is simple: I took a principled stand on issues of vital importance not only to my constituents in Western New York, but also to more than 300 million Americans whose lives can be improved by progress in these areas.”

Pelosi promised Fudge an opportunity to work on protecting voting rights and ensuring that black women have a seat at the table.

Earlier, Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) also announced that she was backing Pelosi, just days after considering a run against her.

Pelosi promised Fudge an opportunity to work on protecting voting rights and ensuring that black women have a seat at the table.

House Democrats who opposed her bid for speaker had released a letter detailing why they want someone else.

Higgins of New York was among the 16 lawmakers who had signed onto that letter.

Reps. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.) and Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) had also signed it.

The 116th Congress will convene on Jan. 3, 2019.