The U.S. Democratic Party’s longtime No. 2 leader, Steny Hoyer, House of Representatives, who has long been recognized for his close ties to AIPAC, is resigning as leader.
Hoyer, the 83-year-old majority leader, has had a long-standing friendship with Maryland’s Jewish population.
On the same day that Nancy Pelosi, the House Speaker, declared her intention to leave the leadership, he made his exit known on Thursday.
Both candidates will complete their mandates in Congress after being re-elected this month. (Both also worked as co-interns in the late Maryland senator Daniel Brewster’s office in 1963.)
After Democrats narrowly lost the House to Republicans on November 8, Hoyer and Pelosi are begging off from House leadership roles.
Years ago, Hoyer took the lead in a show of unity at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s annual conference.
A counterpart from the Republican leadership joined him, and while they both claimed to disagree on several issues, they did agree to support Israel.
They frequently took advantage of the occasion to introduce or announce bicameral pro-Israel legislation.
Additionally, he oversaw an annual trip to Israel for Democratic first-year students.
His ardent support for Israel has recently alienated some progressive Democrats who are more critical of Israel, and in 2019, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan announced that she would lead a rival tour to the Palestinian territories.
She was hindered when former President Donald Trump demanded that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not let her into the country.
Hoyer didn’t always take AIPAC’s position.
He disapproved of the group’s 2015 agenda item, which was to veto the Iran nuclear agreement put out by Democratic President Barack Obama.
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York, who is close to AIPAC, was backed by Hoyer as the Democratic Party’s leader in his letter announcing his resignation.