WASHINGTON - House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is making progress on her way to becoming Speaker of the House once again. Democrats nominated Pelosi late Wednesday afternoon, her first step to reclaiming the gavel.

That voting wrapped up late this afternoon on Capitol Hill Pelosi reportedly earned approximately 85 percent of the votes during a closed-door session consisting of only House Democrats.

Pelosi had most Democrats on her side throughout this process and was formally unopposed in the nomination process despite some other Members flirting with the notion of challenging Pelosi, who will start her 17th term in the U.S. House in 2019.

“We had a most unifying session just now in the House Democratic Caucus, the new House Democratic Caucus,” Pelosi said during a news conference late Wednesday afternoon.

But the left-wing California Democrat had to convince a handful of moderate members who considered withholding their vote for Speaker in January if some rules changes weren’t made for lower-ranking members.

Pelosi met with members from the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus to secure some of those votes. They apparently came away with a deal on their new proposed rules package, according to a statement Caucus Democrats issued Wednesday morning.

“We have reached such an agreement with Leader Pelosi to help Break the Gridlock for the American people and will support her, so these rules and reforms can be adopted in January,” the statement said.

Those rules changes are as follows:

  1. Every Member Gets a Voice:Adopt a rule creating a “Consensus Calendar.”  Once a bill reaches 290 co-sponsors, a 25 legislative day clock will begin.  If the primary committee of jurisdiction does not report the bill by the end of the 25 legislative days, the legislation will be placed on the new “Consensus Calendar” where it will remain until the bill is considered.  For every in-session week, after February 28th of the First Session and before September 30th of the Second Session, majority leadership will be required to bring at least one bill on the “Consensus Calendar” to the Floor.  
  2. Bipartisan Amendments:Create a Rules Committee Protocol that specifically adds a preference to amendments that comply with the rules, and have at least twenty Members of each party cosponsoring the amendment.
  3. Modernize the Discharge Petition: Allow discharge petitions to be considered under a 3-day notice process similar to privileged resolutions in order to facilitate their use and effectiveness, while still requiring 218 signatures. The current process only allows perfected petitions on certain Mondays and only if the House is in session on those days. 
  4. Increase Committee Transparency:Require three business days’ notice for committee markups, but preserve the entire “good cause” exception.  
  5. Reform the Motion to Vacate the Chair: Adopt a rule stating that a resolution causing a vacancy in the Office of the Speaker will be privilegedif offered by the direction of a major party caucus or conference.
  6. Legislative Committee Party Ratios:Commit to a more fairparty ratio for committees.  Since ratios change throughout the year due to resignations, special elections etc., ratios have never been and should not be set through the standing rules of the House.  We are also aware of the Minority’s need to negotiate for seats they need and how setting ratios in the standing rules could inadvertently restrict their needs. However, we agree that to the extent possible party ratios on legislative committees (including Intelligence and Joint and Select Committees, but excluding Rules and Ethics) should reflect the party ratio of the entire House.
  7. A More Inclusive Amendment Process:Commit to a more fair and inclusive legislative process where more ideas and amendments are debated, and there is less of a reliance on closed rules.
  8. Preserve “Majority Markups”:Ensure that a majority of the Members of a committee can request and schedule a markup of the committee they serve on.  

But there is still some opposition to overcome by the time Pelosi’s nomination goes before the full House – when Republicans will vote, as well – namely the younger members of the Democratic party who want a younger leader. Pelosi is 78 years old.

“Are there dissenters? Yes.” Pelosi acknowledged. “But I expect to have a powerful vote as we go forward.”

Democrats are expected to have 235 members in the house if they win the two uncalled races where they’re currently ahead. That means seventeen Democrats could defect and Pelosi would still win.

The full House vote is tentatively scheduled on Jan. 3, 2019, the first day of Congress’ next session.