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Massachusetts Rep. Richard Neal, who backs Nancy Pelosi for House speaker, primed for 'first dust-up'

November 27, 2018
In The News

A day before Democrats were set to pick US House leaders, Rep. Richard Neal launched into a defense of Nancy Pelosi.

Neal, the Springfield Democrat in line to chair the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, said he has worked the phones in support of Pelosi, who is looking to return to the House speakership.

"You've probably heard there's a bit of dispute in our family," Neal joked while speaking with business leaders in Boston.

"You should know, I've been picking them off one after another," he told the New England Council during a breakfast event inside the Boston Harbor Hotel.

"We're working hard to bring them into the tent," Neal added. "And I think that we're going to hold on."

Reps. Seth Moulton, a Salem Democrat, and Steve Lynch, a South Boston Democrat, are two members of the Massachusetts House delegation who have voiced concerns about Pelosi again taking the gavel. Moulton has pushed for newer and younger leaders to receive top positions.

Democrats are currently eyeing a majority in the House of Representatives through the Nov. 6 election that resulted in 39 flipped seats. Many of the seats were won by center-left Democrats who either unseated Republicans or won seats held by retiring Republicans, according to Neal.

"The losing party is generally the one that has to do the reset, not the winning party," Neal said.

 

Asked if the members who haven't supported Pelosi will face a backlash from House leaders, Neal said, "There'll be a reconciliation."

"Tomorrow is going to be the first dust-up," Neal added. "I think that obviously she's going to overwhelmingly win the caucus. But there'll be a chance to find out how many real hard no's there are. And then you'll see us continue to go to work on this. I think the emphasis right now ought to be on governing."

Massachusetts Democrats will have "somebody on every key committee," according to Neal.

Rep. Jim McGovern, a Worcester Democrat, is slated to take over the Rules Committee.

Rep. Katherine Clark of Melrose is on the Appropriations Committee, while Joe Kennedy of Newton is on the Commerce Committee and Moulton is on the Armed Services Committee.

Neal said he has spoken with incoming Reps. Ayanna Pressley of Dorchester and Lori Trahan of Westford. Trahan succeeds Niki Tsongas, who did not run for reelection, and Pressley, who ousted longtime Rep. Mike Capuano of Somerville.

Neal noted that Capuano sat on transportation committees that could wield significant influence if House Democrats move ahead on a massive infrastructure spending bill. 

"That's where you make your mark," Neal said of committees. "Because your committee assignment is your destiny in Congress."