Despite one of the Rio Grande Valley Democratic congressmen opposing her, Nancy Pelosi received her colleagues’ nomination for House Speaker during the caucus’ meetings on Wednesday, but she was well short of the threshold needed during formal votes in January to reclaim the speaker’s gavel.
Pelosi won the support of 203 House Democrats on Wednesday. She will need 218 votes in January to become Speaker. One of the 32 dissenters included U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela, D-Brownsville, who has cited Pelosi’s deal with Republicans earlier this year that allowed for $1.6 billion for border wall funding as a primary reason he opposes Pelosi. Vela has also said it’s time for fresh leadership.
The two other Valley congressmen, U.S. Reps. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, and Vicente Gonzalez, D-McAllen, voted in favor of Pelosi, but leading up to Wednesday, they had a few hesitations that Pelosi seemed to settle.
“We got a deal,” Gonzalez said in an interview on Wednesday. “She’s agreed to making some rule changes that we’ve talked about, to open up the legislative process. We won’t be held up by one member holding the whole process hostage.”
In a letter to colleagues on Tuesday, Cuellar said he and Pelosi have disagreed “on more issues than I can count,” but he has gotten to know and respect Pelosi’s fundraising prowess and her support of diversity of ethnicity, religion, gender and opinion.
“I am not supporting Nancy Pelosi for speaker because of inertia,” Cuellar said. “I am supporting Nancy Pelosi for speaker because she put in the work, earned it, and is the best person to lead our caucus now.”
Vela doesn’t believe Pelosi will win the speakership in January.
“We have the votes to keep her from 218,” he wrote in a message to The Monitor on Wednesday morning. “She’ll win today’s vote but the real vote is Jan. 3.”