Longtime House staffer Tom Wickham is stepping down as parliamentarian of the House of Representatives, Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Democrats push resolution to battle climate change, sluggish economy and racial injustice | Senators reach compromise on greenhouse gas amendment stalling energy bill | Trump courts Florida voters with offshore drilling moratorium On The Money: Senate Democrats block GOP relief bill | Senators don’t expect stimulus until after election | Jobless claims plateau GOP senators say coronavirus deal dead until after election MORE (D-Calif.) said on Friday.
He will be replaced by Jason SmithJason Thomas SmithPass the Primary Care Enhancement Act Trump coronavirus briefings put health officials in bind House GOP lawmakers urge Senate to confirm Vought MORE, who serves as the deputy parliamentarian.
In announcing the change, Pelosi praised Wickham as “a master of House rules and procedure, whose incisive legal acumen and absolute professionalism have strengthened the People’s House and benefited the American people whom we serve.”
“In his 25 years of distinguished service,” she said in a statement, “Tom upheld the great Constitutional underpinnings of the historic role of Parliamentarian with excellence and integrity.”
Wickham previously held the roles of assistant parliamentarian and deputy parliamentarian. Then-Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerFive things we learned from this year’s primaries Bad blood between Pelosi, Meadows complicates coronavirus talks Wary GOP eyes Meadows shift from brick-thrower to dealmaker MORE (R-Ohio) gave Wickham the top parliamentarian job in 2012.
As parliamentarian, Wickham’s job is serve as the House’s referee, providing nonpartisan guidance on parliamentary rules and procedures. That’s put him in the middle of some contentious fights between the Democrats and Republicans.
Last summer, Wickham ruled that Pelosi’s floor remarks calling President TrumpDonald John TrumpWarren: I feel ‘deep down fury’ that Trump downplayed pandemic NYT reporter removed from Trump rally in Michigan Trump says he didn’t share classified information following Woodward book MORE’s tweets about four first-term women of color “racist” was out of order. The House, led by Pelosi’s party, then voted to overrule Wickham and her remarks were allowed to remain in the Congressional Record.
Pelosi also had praise for Smith.
“Jason brings outstanding experience, a brilliant legal mind and great rigor of judgment to this historic responsibility, and I am confident that he will uphold and advance the proud traditions of this critical office,” Pelosi said. “As we transition to a new Parliamentarian, we do so committed to fostering diversity in the running of this office and its future leadership.”
Smith is not related to the GOP congressman by the same name, Rep. Jason Smith of Missouri, who is a member of the leadership team.