Massachusetts US Representative Stephen Lynch threw his support to Nancy Pelosi for House speaker Friday, saying he had been assured that the House will try to help working families in the next session.
“Leader Pelosi has assured me that the priorities of average working families will be the priorities of the upcoming Congress,” Lynch said.
It was a change of heart for Lynch, who in mid-November had joined 16 House Democrats indicating they wouldn’t support Pelosi for speaker.
Lynch’s office said his decision came after “several days of productive conversations and growing clarity” on the direction of the House.
“In the recent past, working class Democrats have felt that they were taken for granted in our party and candidate Donald Trump exploited that perception,” Lynch said in the statement.
“My goal was to get some reassurances that we are going to adopt an agenda that will include a real focus on issues that will make life better for . . . every working family, issues like; pension reform, rebuilding America’s transportation infrastructure, roads and bridges, college affordability and protecting Social Security and Medicare. We had one of the best conversations we’ve had since I’ve been in the House and we are aligned on making those issues a priority,” he said.
Lynch said he also had gotten assurances that Pelosi would back the work of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Lynch is a senior member of the panel and is poised to become chairman of the National Security subcommittee.
Lynch said in the Trump administration, Republicans had “obstructed any meaningful oversight from taking place. . . . Leader Pelosi has assured me that the Oversight Committee will have her full support fulfilling that important role and that we will be encouraged to follow the facts wherever they may lead.”
“From our conversations, I believe Leader Pelosi understands not only the job that needs to be done, but also how to bring disparate voices in our party together to make good things happen for the people we represent. I’m happy to be supporting her and look forward to the upcoming session,” he said.
Lynch had joined fellow Massachusetts Congressman Seth Moulton in signing the letter in mid-November. It thanked Pelosi for her “historic” leadership but said it was time for a change.
The 2018 midterm elections saw a “blue wave” that turned control of the House from Republicans to Democrats. The floor vote to see who will be speaker is Jan. 3.
Lynch’s about-face will probably be a blow to the uprising in the House over her speakership.
An overwhelming majority of Democrats want Pelosi, 78, who has led the party in the House since 2003, to win the gavel, but a small group of rebels is trying to scrape together the requisite votes to block her. The math suggests they could get close, but without a vote to spare.
In addition to the 16 Democrats who signed the letter last month, several others promised during their campaigns to oppose Pelosi. She has nearly a month to persuade others to change their minds so she can get the votes.