Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) is rated as one of the most progressive members of Congress.
The 11-term congresswoman — who is perhaps best-known for being the only vote against the Authorization of Military Force days after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 — enjoys a wide range of support across the Democratic Party and was expected to be elected House Democratic Caucus chair last week.
That is, until outgoing Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY) — who was unseated by Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) in June’s Democratic primary — lied to colleagues about Lee’s record. She lost the election for the fourth-ranking position in House Democrats’ leadership by 10 votes to Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), who represents a district neighboring the one Crowley is vacating.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who remains a strong favorite to become Speaker of the House for the second time next month, isn’t taking too kindly to this snub of her progressive California colleague.
She acted quickly to quell displeasure from Lee’s disappointed supporters, who correctly noted that the lack of a woman of color in Democrats’ leadership ranks would not be a good look.
Politico reports Pelosi has created a leadership position for Lee on the panel “that determines committee assignments for Democrats,” expanding “leadership of the panel from two co-chairs to three.”
Lee — who confirmed the rumors of Crowley’s machinations did indeed took place, and called their impact on the House Democratic Caucus chair election “very unfair” — reacted to Pelosi’s appointment by vowing to “make sure that every voice is heard at the leadership table.”
Honored to be nominated to serve as a co-chair of the Steering and Policy Committee with @RepSwalwell and Rep. @RosaDeLauro. Together, we will make sure that every voice is heard at the leadership table. It’s time to get to work #ForThePeople.https://t.co/FV8Ags3Sq6
— Rep. Barbara Lee (@RepBarbaraLee) December 1, 2018
Pelosi tweeted a picture of her new leadership team on Friday.
— Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) November 30, 2018
Though the California congresswoman is joined by longtime leadership colleagues like House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and House Assistant Minority Leader Jim Clyburn (D-SC), she is not the only new face among party leadership: Reps.-elect Katie Hill (D-CA) and Joe Neguse (D-CO) are now also among the ranking House Democrats.