Politics

Dems to replace ‘Assistant to the Leader’ position with ‘Assistant Leader’ post

Chris Moody Contributor

Dwight Schrute would be jealous.

In an attempt to keep South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn in the Democratic leadership in the next Congress, the party will vote on whether to eliminate the “Assistant to the Leader” position now held by Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen and replace it with an “Assistant Leader” spot, a Democratic Caucus aide said Tuesday.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to Democrats over the weekend announcing that party leadership would create the position for Clyburn, who appeared to be all but bumped out when current House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced he would seek Clyburn’s spot as minority whip in the next Congress, but few details were given on the specifics of whether Democrats would keep the “assistant to” position, or drop it completely.

The move will leave Clyburn in the third position of Democratic leadership, behind the House minority leader and the party whip. Van Hollen is running to become the ranking member of the budget committee.

Democrats, who currently hold a majority in the House, were forced to re-align their leadership structure after Republicans won control on Nov. 2. The surprise announcement that now-Speaker Nancy Pelosi would stay in Congress instead of resigning caused caused a problematic shake-up within the party when it was realized that either one member would be forced out of leadership or they would be required to create a new position all together.

Pelosi has not provided specific details about what Clyburn’s new position would entail, and the Congressional Black Caucus, of which Clyburn is a member, is still withholding their support for Pelosi until they hear more about the position. The Democratic Caucus aide would not discuss what specific roll an “assistant leader” would play in the next Congress.

Members of the caucus will vote on whether to re-designate the position Wednesday.

Christopher Harrell contributed to this report.

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