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Nancy Pelosi says the interim House speaker asked her to vacate her Capitol office

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has accused the new speaker pro tempore of asking her to vacate her workspace.
Anna Moneymaker
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Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has accused the new speaker pro tempore of asking her to vacate her workspace.

Updated October 4, 2023 at 11:09 AM ET

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused the new interim speaker, Patrick McHenry, of ordering her to vacate her workspace in the U.S. Capitol building on Tuesday, just hours after the chamber's abrupt leadership shake-up.

In a statement shared with NPR, Pelosi, D-Calif., said she was asked to leave her space "immediately."

"With all of the important decisions that the new Republican Leadership must address, which we are all eagerly awaiting, one of the first actions taken by the new Speaker Pro Tempore was to order me to immediately vacate my office in the Capitol," she wrote, referring to McHenry, R-N.C., by his new formal title.

Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., the former House majority leader, was also asked to leave his Capitol office space, his staff confirmed to NPR.

NPR viewed the text of an email, which was reportedly sent to Pelosi's staff at 6:11 pm on Tuesday, asking the team to remove their belongings by Wednesday.

"The Speaker pro tempore is going to re-assign H-132 for speaker office use. Please vacate the space tomorrow, the room will be re-keyed," the email reads.

Pelosi, like most members of the House, maintains a regular office in the Cannon House Building, which is just across the street from the Capitol. But as a former speaker, she also has access to a hideaway space within the Capitol itself. The speaker has sole authority to dole out prized Capitol real estate.

"This eviction is a sharp departure from tradition," she said in her statement. "As Speaker, I gave former Speaker Hastert a significantly larger suite of offices for as long as he wished," she added, referring to former Rep. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., who served as House speaker from 1999 to 2007.

But even as speaker herself, Pelosi famously departed from tradition when it came to managing the spaces. She quietly revoked an office assigned to then-Vice President Mike Pence and gave it to the White House legislative affairs team.

Concerning her own office, Pelosi says she'll be unable to move her belongings from the space because she is not currently in Washington, D.C. The California Democrat, who was absent from Tuesday's vote, said she's back in her home state to pay tribute to Diane Feinstein, the long-serving California senator who died last week.

Feinstein is scheduled to lie in state at San Francisco City Hall on Wednesday ahead of funeral services Thursday.

Pelosi said the office space ultimately "doesn't matter" to her, but "it seems to be important to them."

"Now that the new Republican Leadership has settled this important matter, let's hope they get to work on what's truly important for the American people," she wrote in her statement.

NPR reached out to McHenry's office for comment but had not received a reply by the time this article was published.

The Republican from North Carolina was named speaker pro tempore on Tuesday after eight Republicans sided with House Democrats in a vote to oust Kevin McCarthy.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Emily Olson
Emily Olson is on a three-month assignment as a news writer and live blog editor, helping shape NPR's digital breaking news strategy.