Neal may climb ladder on Pelosi’s team

richard neal
U.S. Rep. Richard Neal (D-Springfield) is seen here in a WWLP file image from 2015

STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, DEC. 1, 2016…..Massachusetts’s all-Democrat Congressional delegation will soon enter a new era in the minority in both the House and Senate and without an ally in the White House come January when President-elect Donald Trump takes the oath of office.

The delegation’s clout became further complicated this week when at least two of the nine members of the House voted against Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s continued leadership, throwing into question their postings on key committees and influence with Democratic leadership.

While Reps. Seth Moulton and Stephen Lynch went public with their support for Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan to lead the caucus in the new Congress, U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano remains the only House member from Massachusetts who’s leadership vote is unknown. “Rep. Capuano has not stated how he voted yesterday and will not be commenting on this matter,” spokeswoman Alison Mills told the News Service on Thursday.

After the Nov. 8 elections, Capuano in a television interview said: “I love Nancy Pelosi, but I’m a coach. I kind of think there comes a time…The Democratic caucus has to go back real clearly and have this discussion and we will be doing that.”

Pelosi held off a challenge from Ryan with 134 votes to Ryan’s 63 on Wednesday after the Youngstown, Ohio Democrat urged the party to focus more on the economic issues impacting working-class, middle- America Democrats.

The other six members of delegation backed Pelosi, including the dean of the delegation Rep. Richard Neal, who could be in line to become the ranking minority member on the House Ways and Means Committee with legislative battles over taxes looming during the Trump administration.

Long-time ranking Democrat Rep. Sandy Levin of Michigan announced plans to step down from his post, and Neal’s chief rival for the position Rep. Xavier Becerra was tapped Wednesday by California Gov. Jerry Brown to become that state’s next attorney general.

Neal was unavailable for comment Thursday.

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren did not have a say in Wednesday’s House leadership elections, but had kind words for Pelosi during an interview on Thursday on WGBH’s “Boston Public Radio” show.

“The House members owe a lot to Nancy Pelosi. She’s done a lot of hard work through the years and done a lot to help many of them get elected and get re-elected. She’s shown a lot of leadership and when I’ve worked personally with Nancy Pelosi she has been terrific,” Warren said.

Warren said she has called Pelosi more than once asking her to push back against her members so that a bill viewed skeptically by Warren wouldn’t arrive in the Senate “already loaded with a bunch of Democratic votes.”

“She has always been there. She’s been there on every economic argument that I’ve gotten into and gotten engaged in,” Warren said.

Copyright 2016 State House News Service