Berkley backing Pelosi

Rep. Shelley Berkley will back House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for leader of the House Democratic Caucus despite calls by some Democrats for her to be replaced.

David Cherry, a spokesman for Berkley, confirmed today that she would support Pelosi who announced on Friday her intent to remain leader of the caucus in the 112th Congress.

Pelosi announced on Friday that she wanted to remain leader of the Democratic caucus despite some calls from Democrats to replace her.

Berkley declined to say Friday if she would support Pelosi. And her spokesman declined to say Monday what led Berkley to now support Pelosi.

Pelosi’s bid to remain in leadership sets up a battle for second-in-command between House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Democratic Whip James Clyburn of South Carolina.

Hoyer said he wants to be minority whip. Clyburn says he wants to stay in that position. Berkley is backing Hoyer.

“I have been a Steny Hoyer supporter for many years and I will continue to support him now,” Berkley said. “Hoyer has my vote for whip.”

In announcing her support for Hoyer, Berkley said she means no disrespect to Clyburn whom she said she has “the highest regard” for and considers him a “true gentleman” and “valued member” of the Democratic caucus.

Berkley was traveling Monday to Israel with her husband. The weeklong trip, which was organized by the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, will include meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat.

“The focus of discussion will be the peace talks and the need for the Palestinians to remain at the table. The on-going threat posed by Iran is also likely to be a topic of dialogue between the congresswoman and Prime Minister Netanyahu,” Cherry said.

Berkley and her husband are paying for the trip out of their own pocket.