Rep. Tim Ryan, who is challenging House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for her job in Democratic leadership, said Monday her package of proposed reforms would “further consolidate her power over the Caucus.”
In a statement ahead of Democrats’ leadership elections on Wednesday, the Ohio Democrat spoke of “a clear desire among our members to democratize and decentralize the Democratic Caucus by returning more power to our rank and file members and Committees.”
Ryan’s new stance on the proposals is more pessimistic than last week, when his office told Morning Consult Pelosi’s reforms, “will help make the Democratic Caucus better and more inclusive.” His spokesman did add the caveat that Ryan viewed the proposals as “long term fixes” that couldn’t replace changing the leadership “at the top.”
Chief among his concerns was making sure whoever leads the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the House Democrats’ campaign arm, is elected by the caucus, and not appointed by leadership. Pelosi had proposed retaining Rep. Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico as the DCCC chairman for the next cycle after House Democrats picked up six seats in 2016.
“As Democrats, we need to take a hard look at our current campaign model, because we keep losing,” he said. “We need to reduce the DCCC’s command and control approach, whereby consultants in Washington, D.C., with little or no local connections are making decisions for campaigns in big cities, small towns, and rural areas of America.”
The Youngstown-area representative also said more power should be shared among newer members of the caucus. He has proposed adding a position at the Democratic leadership table that would only be open to members who have served three terms or less, rather than reducing the seniority required to serve in the position of assistant Democratic leader, currently held by Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.).
That point echoed similar criticisms raised by a protégé of Clyburn’s, Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.), who wrote in a letter over the Thanksgiving holiday that her proposal could dilute the influence of groups such as the Congressional Black Caucus, according to Politico.
House Democratic leadership elections were originally scheduled to be held before Thanksgiving, but Pelosi agreed to delay them after the rank and file expressed angst over the results on Election Day. House Democrats have toiled in the minority since the 2010 midterms.
An earlier version of this report incorrectly stated Richmond’s state.