House Democrats Endorse Their Leadership

Despite losing seats Nov. 2, House Democratic leaders said Wednesday their caucus is energized and ready to confront the Republican majority in the new Congress.

During a news conference following a meeting of House Democrats, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California said leaders are not licking their wounds from this month’s election results, but instead focused on the future. “This Democratic Caucus is now ready to do that,” she said.

But in a sign that the House Democrats have not forgotten Election Day, Democratic Caucus Chairman Robert Menendez of New Jersey announced the formation of a task force on faith and values in politics. In exit polling, 22 percent of the voters surveyed Nov. 2 said moral values were the most important factor in their voting decision.

The House Democrats unanimously re-elected their current leadership team for the new Congress. Pelosi was widely praised by Democratic lawmakers for shaping consensus positions for the caucus and for her fundraising efforts on behalf of Democratic candidates.

“The leadership did a very good job,” said Gary L. Ackerman, D-N.Y. “It could have been a disaster based on what the president did.”

Also re-elected were Menendez, Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, and Caucus Vice Chairman James E. Clyburn and John M. Spratt Jr., assistant to the minority leader, both of South Carolina.

Pelosi announced that fellow Californian George Miller and Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut will continue as cochairmen of the Steering and Policy Committee, which is chaired by Pelosi.

One leadership position remains a question mark. Robert T. Matsui of California has said he will remain chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) through the Louisiana runoff elections in December. He is widely expected to step aside then, although Matsui has been silent about his intentions.

The DCCC chairman is appointed by the Democratic leader.

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