Congressional Black Caucus Expects Rep. James Clyburn to Land No. 4 Rank for House Democrats

As Democrats get set to take minority status, there is a dispute about who is set to be the fourth-ranking member of the party.

The Hill reports most in the Congressional Black Caucus “presume the ranking will fall to Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.).,” a 30-year veteran politician who is set to become the assistant leader in the next Congress. Clyburn was paramount in President Joe Biden’s selection of Kamala Harris as his vice president and his nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson for the Supreme Court and receiving the support of Black voters.

However, the hierarchy is being questioned by Rep. Ted Lieu (Calif.), the incoming Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus. The vice chair has typically been ranked just below the caucus chair, which will be the No. 3 position in the next Congress.

However, Democrats moving to the minority has led to a reshuffling of its leadership after the midterm elections. Rep. Pete Aguliar (Calif.) is now in the No. 3 spot behind Reps. Hakeem Jeffries (N.Y.) and Katherine Clark (Mass.). The three will replace Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), Steny Hoyer (Md.), and Clyburn as the new Democratic leadership.

Time Magazine reports this marks the first time in U.S. history the party’s leadership will not include a white man.

While Pelosi, who announced she would step down following the attack on her husband, and Hoyer have stepped away from Democratic leadership, Clyburn ran successfully for assistant leader, a position created by Pelosi when Democrats lost their majority in 2010.

Clyburn’s decision caught the party off-guard and forced Aguliar to run for the caucus chair position and Rep. Joe Neguse (Colo.) to take a position with the party’s messaging arm rather than run against Aguliar.

Amid all the movement, it was never determined who the leadership would consist of below Jefferies, Clark, and Aguliar, and Democratic leaders have largely avoided the subject. Neither Lieu nor Clyburn has commented on the situation, as the duties and titles of the vice chair and the assistant leader wouldn’t change based on the rankings.

However, the rankings could become significant in the future if a vacancy emerges within the leadership team or if Democrats retake the House.