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These Democrats are working with Republicans to possibly block Pelosi’s House Speaker bid

Blue Dog Democrats and the House Problem Solvers Caucus make up the newest opposition from Pelosi's right.

Jim Costa combs his hair while exiting Capitol Hill on July 29, 2015. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)
Jim Costa combs his hair while exiting Capitol Hill on July 29, 2015. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has even more moderate Democrats to worry about in her bid to become Speaker of the House for the second time.

16 Democratic colleagues, later reduced to 15 when Rep. Brian Higgins (NY) changed course, signed a letter opposing the California congresswoman earlier this week.

Now another group of moderate Democrats is threatening to upend Pelosi’s House Speaker bid. And they’re working with Republicans to do it.

The House Problem Solvers Caucus, a bipartisan collection of lawmakers that reportedly has solved very few problems since its creation, is refusing to back Pelosi unless she adopts their proposed rule changes.

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The Problem Solvers have billed the proposals as “breaking the gridlock” of Congress, but CNN notes the rules changes would “empower rank-and-file members to push bills in the House, a power now reserved for the leadership.”

Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) ripped the Problem Solvers’ proposed “GOP-friendly rules that will hamstring healthcare efforts from the get-go.”

As The Intercept’s Ryan Grim pointed out, the House Problem Solvers Caucus is backed by No Labels, an “aggressively centrist” political action group that has been called “the most useless force in American politics.”

Nine Democrats are reportedly part of the Problem Solvers’ effort.

All nine of these Democrats have supported President Donald Trump’s agenda more frequently than Pelosi, per FiveThirtyEight’s congressional Trump tracker.

Rep. Josh Gottheimer (NJ): 54.8 percent

Josh Gottheimer on Capitol Hill on February 2, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Josh Gottheimer on Capitol Hill on February 2, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

New Jersey’s congressional delegation will only have one Republican come January, but Gottehimer, a former speechwriter for President Bill Clinton, has voted with Trump nearly 55 percent of the time. His 5th congressional district in the suburbs of New York City is rated as Republicans +3 by the Cook Partisan Voting Index, which “measures how each district performs at the presidential level compared to the nation as a whole.”

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The two-term congressman, who is part of the Blue Dog Coalition of moderate Democrats, voted for rolling back Dodd-Frank financial regulations put in place after the Great Recession, the GOP’s omnibus spending bill, “Kate’s Law” to increase penalties for undocumented immigrants who re-enter the U.S., a resolution that supported Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and denounced calls for its abolishment, and a failed push to add a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.

Rep. Tom O’Halleran (AZ): 53.8 percent

Tom O'Halleran is interviewed on Capitol Hill on July 18, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Tom O'Halleran is interviewed on Capitol Hill on July 18, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

O’Halleran has supported Trump’s agenda almost 54 percent of the time in the 1st congressional district, which contains most of the rural eastern part of the state, and is rated R+2 by Cook.

The two-term congressman, who quit the Republican Party in 2014 and became a Democrat in 2016, backed the pro-ICE resolution, the repeal of Dodd-Frank regulations, “Kate’s Law”, and the Republicans’ omnibus spending bill.

The Blue Dog Democrat also voted against a carbon tax.

Rep. Stephanie Murphy (FL): 50 percent

Stephanie Murphy is interviewed on September 23, 2016. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call)
Stephanie Murphy is interviewed on September 23, 2016. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call)

Murphy, who represents the evenly-rated 7th congressional district near Orlando, has voted with Trump half of the time.

The two-term congresswoman backed the undoing of Dodd-Frank regulations, the GOP’s omnibus spending bill, “Kate’s Law,” and the pro-ICE resolution.

The Blue Dog Democrat also voted against a carbon tax.

Rep. Jim Costa (CA): 47.1 percent

Jim Costa at a news conference on Capitol Hill on July 25, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Jim Costa at a news conference on Capitol Hill on July 25, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Costa has backed Trump’s agenda almost half of the time despite representing the D+9 16th congressional district near Fresno.

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The eight-term congressman supported the pro-ICE resolution, a roll back of Dodd-Frank regulations, GOP omnibus spending bill, and a failed push to add a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.

The Blue Dogs Democrat chairman also voted to delay the implementation of ozone regulations.

Rep. Dan Lipinski (IL): 40 percent

Dan Lipinski at a news conference on Capitol Hill on October 9, 2013. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Dan Lipinski at a news conference on Capitol Hill on October 9, 2013. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Lipinski has voted with Trump 40 percent of the time despite representing a reliably Democratic D+6 district near Chicago.

The eight-term congressman supported banning all abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, “Kate’s Law”, and Republicans’ omnibus spending bill.

The Blue Dog Democrat chairman also voted present, a legislative tactic to avoid making a decision, on the pro-ICE resolution.

Rep. Vicente González (TX): 33.7 percent

Vicente González is interviewed on Capitol Hill on March 16, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Vicente González is interviewed on Capitol Hill on March 16, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

González represents the heavily-Hispanic, D+7 15th congressional district that stretches nearly from San Antonio to McAllen.

Despite this, the two-term congressman has voted with Trump over a third of the time, including on rolling back Dodd-Frank regulations, making conceal-carry gun permits legal across state lines, and opposing a carbon tax.

The Blue Dog Democrat also voted present on the pro-ICE bill.

Rep. Tom Suozzi (NY): 33.3 percent

Tom Suozzi on Capitol Hill on April 18, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Tom Suozzi on Capitol Hill on April 18, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Suozzi, who represents the D+1 3rd congressional district on Long Island, has supported Trump’s agenda a third of the time.

The two-term congressman backed the pro-ICE bill and the rollback of Dodd-Frank financial regulations.

Rep. Kurt Schrader (OR): 31.5 percent

Kurt Schrader at a news conference on Capitol Hill on November 15, 2012. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Kurt Schrader at a news conference on Capitol Hill on November 15, 2012. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Schrader is the only Democrat on this list who also signed the anti-Pelosi letter earlier this week.

The six-term congressman and Blue Dog Democrat has voted with Trump almost a third of the time, including on bills to repeal Dodd-Frank regulations and make conceal-carry gun permits legal across state lines.

Rep. Darren Soto (FL): 21.5 percent

Darren Soto is interviewed on Capitol Hill on April 11, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Darren Soto is interviewed on Capitol Hill on April 11, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Soto has supported Trump’s agenda almost a quarter of the time despite representing a heavily-Democratic D+6 district near Orlando.

Nancy Pelosi and Paul Ryan in the House Chamber on January 3, 2017. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Nancy Pelosi and Paul Ryan in the House Chamber on January 3, 2017. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Pelosi needs the support of the majority of the House’s 435 members to be elected Speaker.

The new Democratic majority has continued to grow since Election Day thanks to a handful of close House races that required additional time to count votes.

The gap between Rep. David Valadao (R) and businessman TJ Cox (D) continues to close in California’s 21st congressional district. The incumbent Republican’s lead is now under 500 votes and he’s seen as an underdog, which would give Democrats a total of 40 House flips in the midterms.

Forty seat flips from red to blue would put the Democratic majority at 235, meaning Pelosi could only afford to lose the support of 17 colleagues.

But to make the math even more complicated, Republican support could put Pelosi over the top. Trump has also endorsed the California congresswoman and hinted at GOP votes in multiple tweets.

The main hurdle for anti-Pelosi Democrats is the lack of a serious challenger for the former Speaker, who has led House Democrats since 2003. Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH), who was considered the presumed alternative to Pelosi, announced she would be backing the longtime Democratic leader last week.