Jeffries bids to lead US House Democrats

US congressman Hakeem Jeffries has launched a bid to become the Democratic leader in the House of Representatives, a day after Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced she was giving up her leadership role.

If he wins the November 30 House Democratic leadership election, Jeffries would become the first black lawmaker to head a party caucus in Congress.

Jeffries, at age 52 three decades younger than Pelosi, would embody not only the party's diverse voter base but also a new generation of leadership in the House.

Pelosi's decision to step down after two decades leading the House Democratic caucus came a day after Republicans cemented a narrow majority in the chamber and prepared to name a Speaker from their own party.

If he gets the job, Jeffries would have to navigate not only balancing when to co-operate with Republicans and when to defend President Joe Biden's agenda, but also the delicate task of keeping his fellow Democrats on the same page.

The often-reserved Jeffries put on a more pugilistic display at a news conference this week, lashing out at what he called "extreme MAGA Republicans" taking control of the House - a reference to Republican former president Donald Trump's "Make America Great" slogan.

Republicans will formally take control of the House in January after picking up enough seats in last week's midterm elections to erase a narrow Democratic majority.

Jeffries announced his bid in a letter released by his office, saying: "I write to humbly ask for your support for the position of House Democratic Leader as we once again prepare to meet the moment." No challengers to Jeffries have yet emerged.

Pelosi issued a statement in support of Jeffries as well as representatives Katherine Clark and Pete Aguilar, who are seeking other Democratic leadership positions.

Clark, a progressive, is running for the No.2 position. Aguilar, a centrist, was expected to seek the leadership post of chairman of the Democratic caucus, which Jeffries holds.