Pelosi Will Remain as House Democratic Leader

Former Speaker has led party in House of Representatives for ten years

November 13, 2012, 3:13 PM

Nov. 14, 2012 -- Nancy Pelosi will continue to serve as the House Democratic Leader, she announced in a closed-door meeting with fellow Democrats Wednesday morning.

Ten years ago today, Nancy Pelosi was elected as the first woman to lead a political party in Congress. According to a senior aide, when Pelosi first broke the news to her caucus, she said, "I will happily place my name for nomination for leader."

But with all the newly elected members standing behind her, there is no doubt that Pelosi has the support to continue as minority leader.

Caucus members broke into chants of "Two more years!" after Pelosi made the announcement.

At a news conference later on Capitol Hill, Pelosi was surrounded by dozens of House Democratic women, Pelosi said the record number of women lawmakers and fighting for issues important to them helped convince her to stay on as leader. The Democratic caucus, for the first time, is comprised by a majority of women and minorities.

"From the standpoint of the victory we had at the polls I wouldn't think of walking away," she said."The vitality of the 49 new members -- about 25 percent of our caucus is brand new. I want to see them succeed here, and I want to see them return."

The 72-year-old San Francisco congresswoman told colleagues she will continue to lead a united Democratic caucus and fight in deficit reduction negotiations to protect Social Security and Medicare, while asking the wealthiest Americans to pay more in taxes.

"In order to reignite the American dream…to build ladders of opportunity for those who want to work hard, play by the rules, take responsibility, to have those ladders have sides about small business and entrepreneurship and a strong and thriving middle class, we have work to do," she said. "I'm so proud to stand here with you, my sisters."

Pelosi was House Speaker when Democrats held control of the House from 2007 through 2011 and stayed in the top Democratic job for their two years in the minority. Her goal of returning to the speaker's chair after the 2012 elections is unfulfilled, however, since Democrats did not reclaim the majority Nov. 6th.

Pelosi's husband, Paul Pelosi, made a rare appearance on Capitol Hill to hear the announcement to the caucus. She told reporters that she did not make up her mind until Tuesday.

"I had to talk this over with my family because it is an enormous time commitment," she said. "Now my brother Tommy wasn't as keen on it as my children were. I guess he wanted to spend more time with me, but my kids were busy!"

Read more about Nancy Pelosi.

Get more political news from

Republicans released a tongue-in-cheek statement praising Pelosi's decision.

"There is no better person to preside over the most liberal House Democratic Caucus in history than the woman who is solely responsible for relegating it to a prolonged minority status," said Paul Lindsay, communications director of the National Republican Congressional Committee. "This decision signals that House Democrats have absolutely no interest in regaining the trust and confidence of the American people who took the Speaker's gavel away from Nancy Pelosi in the first place."

With Pelosi still in the top job, the House Democrats' leadership structure is expected to remain mostly intact. Democrats hold their leadership election on November 29.

Rep. Steny Hoyer, who was just elected to a 17th term, is expected to remain as the Democratic Whip. Rep. Xavier Becerra, R-Calif., is a lock for Democratic Caucus chair, replacing Rep. John Larson, who is term-limited due to caucus rules.

Becerra, who is vice chairman of the caucus in this session of Congress, is likely to be replaced by Rep. Joseph Crowley, a Democrat from New York. Crowley is running against Rep. Jared Polis of Colorado and Rep. Barbara Lee of California for the post, although one Democratic aide said it "sounds like Crowley has support he needs" to lock up the post.

Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina is likely to stay as the assistant leader. Rep. Steve Israel, New York, will remain as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Rep. Marcia Fudge is also running unopposed to replace the term-limited Rep. Emanuel Cleaver as chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Across the aisle, now that Republicans have held onto their majority, questions remain for chairmanships of key committees as well.

House Republicans will vote at 2 p.m. Wednesday afternoon in the Ways and Means committee room to select their leadership team. If all goes as expected, John Boehner will return as speaker, Eric Cantor returns as majority leader, Kevin McCarthy as majority whip.

In a race for the fourth-ranked spot at the leadership table, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the current vice chair of the House Republican Conference, is pitted against the current Policy Committee chairman, Rep. Tom Price of Georgia. McMorris Rodgers has earned the support of most of the current GOP leadership team aside from the lawmaker she is looking to replace – Jeb Hensarling. Price's best surrogate is Budget chairman Paul Ryan, who circulated a letter of support for his budget colleague, who the former vice presidential nominee describes as "uniquely qualified for the job." If McMorris Rodgers wins, she'll remain the top-ranked woman in Republican leadership.

If she loses, that title will fall to either Lynn Jenkins or Martha Roby, who are running against each other for vice chair of the Republican conference. Roby's office is confident, and says the response to her pursuit has been tremendous.

There is also a race for Secretary of Republican Conference between Reps. Jeff Denham and Virginia Foxx.

Rep. Greg Walden, who has served as deputy chairman at the NRCC the past four years, is poised to take over as chairman there. Walden just won an eighth term in the House, and also previously served as chairman of the House Majority Transition Committee when Boehner and the Republicans rode the Tea Party wave to the majority in 2010.

Reps. Steve Scalise and Tom Graves are both battling for the chairmanship at the Republican Study Committee, the largest conservative caucus outside the full conference. Rep. Jim Jordan, the current chairman, is term limited. Members of the RSC will vote via secret ballot for their leadership on Nov. 15.

At the Republican Policy committee, where Price is currently the chairman, freshman Republican James Lankford is thought to be in the best position to take over.

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events