Oregon Rep. Kurt Schrader is continuing to oppose House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi’s bid to once again assume the speakership, despite a new pact she reached with seven of Schrader’s fellow dissidents.
Pelosi agreed Wednesday to serve no more than four additional years as speaker, a concession that appeared to clear her path to winning the House’s top job in January.
But Schrader said in a statement Thursday morning that “I will not be voting for Ms. Pelosi for speaker.”
He added that “I believe strongly that the Congress needs to reform how it operates with a new generation of leadership that reflects the attitudes and goals of our country in the 21st century.”
Schrader has been critical of Pelosi’s leadership ever since Democrats lost control of the House in 2010, two years after he won Oregon’s 5th Congressional District seat.
He voted for a rival candidate for House Democratic leadership in 2016 and has continued to oppose her even after Democrats regained control in a November election that saw their biggest increase in House seats since the 1970s.
In an interview with OPB last month, Schrader said he thought voter anger at Donald Trump played a bigger role than Pelosi’s leadership in the big Democratic gains. He said that Republicans have effectively tarnished her reputation in many moderate and conservative districts.
Schrader last month joined 15 other Democrats in signing a letter saying they would oppose her speakership.
Half now say they will back her and that may be enough to give her the votes she needs to be elected speaker in January.
Schrader’s district runs from southeast Portland through Clackamas County and includes much of the Willamette Valley and the coast.
He’s taken fire from many Democratic activists who say he shouldn’t be undermining someone they say is an effective leader in advancing the party’s agenda in Congress.