Nancy Pelosi Defends Leadership Role, But Some Texas Democrats Grow Restless

WASHINGTON -- Amidst signs of growing discontent among House Democrats, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi offered a full-throated defense of her leadership record Thursday, pushing back against internal calls for the California Democrat to step down.“I respect any opinion that my members have, but my decision about how long I stay is not up to them,” Pelosi said at a news conference. “My caucus is overwhelmingly supportive of me.”The forceful response came as some rank-and-file Democrats have become increasingly vocal about concerns with Pelosi after the party narrowly lost a special election in Georgia this week.Many Democrats are skittish about criticizing the minority leader on the record, hyperaware of the influence she has on their fortunes in Congress with control over their committee placements and standing in the party.But the ranks of those who are willing to both publicly and privately question the longtime leader’s staying power are swelling.“It’s clear to me that, in the swing districts that we need to win back the majority, with Leader Pelosi at the top of the ticket, it’s just not going to happen,” said Rep. Filemon Vela, D-Brownsville.Vela caused a stir this week when he turned on Pelosi after having voted for her in the most recent leadership elections in November. But he now says he was not familiar back then with Rep. Tim Ryan, the Ohio Democrat who challenged Pelosi, and has since come to believe the party needs a fresh face going into 2018.“I think Nancy needs to ask herself this question: If the goal here is to get a Democratic majority in the House, do I help or do I hurt Democratic candidates in those swing districts?” Vela said. “I have an opinion about what the answer is to that and I think a lot of people here agree with me, but at the end of the day it’s a question she has to ask herself and answer honestly.”  Continue reading...

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