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Pelosi wins over critics by agreeing to 4 years as House speaker

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi solidified her efforts to become speaker Wednesday by agreeing to serve in the post for a maximum of four years to win over her critics.

"Over the summer, I made it clear that I see myself as a bridge to the next generation of leaders, a recognition of my continuing responsibility to mentor and advance new members into positions of power and responsibility in the House Democratic Caucus," Pelosi, a long-time House member from California, said in a statement.

Afterward, seven Democrats who vowed not to support Pelosi said they are backing her. That includes Rep. Ed Perlmutter of Colorado, who helped manage a letter signed by more than a dozen Democrats wanting someone else to become speaker.

"We wish to thank Nancy Pelosi for her willingness to work with us to reach this agreement," the House members said in a statement obtained by CNN. "We are proud that our agreement will make lasting institutional change that will strengthen our caucus and will help develop the next generation of Democratic leaders. We will support and vote for Nancy Pelosi for speaker of the House in the 116th Congress."

The change also would affect her top two deputies, Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland and Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina.

In the plan, the top leaders can serve for only three terms in the majority party and one more term beyond that would require approval by two-thirds of the Democratic caucus instead of the current simple majority.

This change is retroactive with Pelosi entering her third term in 2019. If she did go on to win a fourth term in 2021 with the support of two-thirds of the caucus, it would have to be her last. Pelosi, Hoyer and Clyburn served for two terms in leadership when Democrats controlled the House from 2007-11.

In the announcement, Pelosi said incoming Democratic caucus chairman Hakeem Jeffries and the incoming House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern plan to bring it up for a vote in caucus on Feb. 15.

"I am comfortable with the proposal and it is my intention to abide by it whether it passes or not," she said.

On Jan. 3, the full House will vote on the speaker-ship. Pelosi overwhelmingly won the nomination for speaker on Nov. 28 with 32 Democrats voting against her and three declining to vote behind closed doors.

With 235 Democrats in the House -- 40 more than in the current term -- she can lose only 17 Democrats and still reach 218 in a House vote.

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