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.
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.”
9 Dems are choosing to hold the entire 220+ caucus hostage if we don’t accept their GOP-friendly rules that will hamstring healthcare efforts from the get-go.
People sent us here to get things done, not “negotiate” with an admin that jails children and guts people’s healthcare. https://t.co/ih8ygftjHo
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) November 23, 2018
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.”
The “Problem Solvers Caucus” is funded by billionaires through a front group, called No Labels. Their super PAC spent millions to elect the handful of Democrats now trying to ally with Republicans and jam everything up https://t.co/JUREwYvLXg
— Ryan Grim (@ryangrim) November 24, 2018
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
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.”
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
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
Murphy, who represents the evenly-rated 7th congressional district near Orlando, has voted with Trump half of the time.
The Blue Dog Democrat also voted against a carbon tax.
Rep. Jim Costa (CA): 47.1 percent
Costa has backed Trump’s agenda almost half of the time despite representing the D+9 16th congressional district near Fresno.
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
Lipinski has voted with Trump 40 percent of the time despite representing a reliably Democratic D+6 district near Chicago.
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
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
Suozzi, who represents the D+1 3rd congressional district on Long Island, has supported Trump’s agenda a third of the time.
Rep. Kurt Schrader (OR): 31.5 percent
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
Soto has supported Trump’s agenda almost a quarter of the time despite representing a heavily-Democratic D+6 district near Orlando.
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.
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.