Hoyer Endorses Clyburn for New Leadership Role
WASHINGTON — The future of the leadership of the House Democratic Caucus took another turn Friday afternoon with outgoing House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., endorsing the candidacy of outgoing House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., for assistant Democratic leader in the 118th Congress.
“I have known Jim Clyburn for more than 50 years, and he has been a close friend and colleague to me and many others in our caucus, and I’m proud to endorse him for the position of assistant leader,” Hoyer said in a written statement.
“I have had the pleasure of serving with him in leadership for many years and have witnessed his wisdom, vision, and skill as a leader and legislator firsthand,” he continued.
“Jim’s background as a civil rights activist and his deep knowledge of American history brings context and wisdom to our caucus when making decisions,” Hoyer added. “With experience as assistant Democratic leader, chair and vice-chair of our caucus, and majority whip, he is well positioned to help our next generation of leaders as they step up in the 118th Congress.”
The endorsement, though expected, was the latest development in a series of events set in motion by the announcement, on Thursday, by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., that she will step down from party leadership in the next Congress while continuing to represent her San Francisco, California, district.
She also said she would not sit on committees in what will now be her speaker-emeritus role in the chamber.
Hoyer, in his own announcement following Pelosi’s floor speech, said he too intended to step down from caucus leadership, but also made it clear he intends to return to the House Appropriations Committee, on which he served for many years.
Hoyer said that in returning to the committee, his focus will be “on education, health care and investing in America’s productive manufacturing capacity to create more jobs and opportunities for our people.”
Clyburn was initially closer to the vest with his intentions. Though he put out a statement praising Pelosi on Wednesday while also endorsing Reps. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., Katherine Clark, D-Mass., and Pete Aguilar, D-Calif., as the future leaders of the party, he gave no initial indication of what he planned to do in the next Congress.
On Friday, Clyburn distributed a “dear colleague” letter asking for the caucus’ support for his desire to remain at the leadership table “as we Democrats set about the work of retaking the majority in 2024 and reelecting our president.”
He also reminded his fellow Democrats of the role his endorsement played in turning around candidate Joe Biden’s fortunes in the 2020 primaries.
“Retaking the House majority and holding the White House in 2024 will require that we continue the task I urged President Biden to undertake in 2020 in Charleston, South Carolina: advancing an agenda focused on making America’s greatness accessible and affordable to ALL Americans,” Clyburn wrote.
He closed with a reference to the introduction of his memoir, “Blessed Experiences: Genuinely Southern, Proudly Black.”
“All my experiences have not been pleasant, but I have considered all of them to be blessings,” he wrote in both the book and his letter.
“If elected assistant Democratic leader, I will bring my experiences to [the] table to continue working with every corner of our caucus to find unity, even on the toughest of issues,” Clyburn said.
In his endorsement, Hoyer stressed that Clyburn would be “an invaluable resource” to the entire caucus.
“I will do everything I can to work with him to ensure that House Democrats have a smooth transition into the next Congress,” Hoyer said.