Lee, D-Oakland, asked her fellow House Democrats to unify around Rep. Joe Crowley, D-N.Y., for the job instead.
“My goal in seeking the position was to provide a broader voice to our Democratic agenda. We fight each and every day for the middle class because without a middle class there would be no American dream to reignite. However, like so many in our Caucus, we also want to fight for those aspiring for and striving to be in the middle class and our message, legislative agenda and politics must reflect this reality,” Lee said in a written statement.
“With nearly 50 million people living in poverty, of whom 16 million are children, we must recognize that it is in our nation’s best interest both morally and economically to develop policies to at least cut poverty in half in the next 10 years,” she said. “This should be part of our Caucus agenda as we work to create ladders of opportunity and remove obstacles to reigniting the American dream for all.”
Lee noted the Democratic Caucus is the most diverse in the nation’s history. “This is our strength and we must build on this as we work to take back the House. This diversity, which brings a diversity of ideas, should be seriously reflected in our leadership, our leadership decisions and our overall agenda.”
The House Democratic Caucus has been chaired in the soon-to-end 112th Congress by Rep. John Larson, D-Conn.; the vice chairman has been Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Los Angeles. The new 113th Congress starts at noon on Thursday, Jan. 3.