Getting by the slimmest majority, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi won reelection for the top House job. She will officially lead the 117th Congress. Meanwhile, the Democrats and the GOP square off on January 5 in the Georgia runoff elections to determine who controls the Senate.
Three Democrat representatives voted “present,” which under House rules did not count against Pelosi. Also, Two Democrats, Jared Golden (Me) and Conor Lamb (Pa) showed their refusal of Pelosi’s authority, opting to vote instead for another Democrat. Golden cast his vote for non-candidate, Senator Tammy Duckworth, while Lamb voted for Representative Hakeem Jeffries (NY). Meanwhile, the Republican candidate for Speaker, Representative Kevin McCarthy (Ca), the current House minority leader, received 209 votes from party mates.
Pelosi, a longtime representative, first won a Congressional seat in 1987. Now in her 17th term, she led the Democratic Party efforts since 2003. She served as House Speaker during the times that Democrats hold the House majority: 2007 to 2011, and 2019 onwards). Also, she became House Minority Leader when the GOP was in control, 2003 to 2007 and 2011 to 2019.
Pelosi earned the respect of fellow party mates as she led the opposition against President Donald Trump and the Republican-backed Senate. During this time, she successfully managed to rally both party moderates and progressives into a united front. Also, Pelosi successfully raised the Democrats’ war chest to help them retain their majority. For this election, no Democrat stepped up to challenge her for the position.
Voting under the Coronavirus Shadow
With some members absent from testing positive for the virus, safety measures were put in place to ensure a safe election. Noticeable during the session is the presence of a plexiglass enclosure in the House gallery. This was set up to allow quarantined members to vote until proxy voting returns. The capitol physician requested a total of three representatives to stay in the enclosure during the session. There, they can safely vote for their candidate without risking infection.
Republicans scored the setup and accused Democrats of putting their ambitions before the safety of others. “To build a structure like that, in the dark of night, to only protect the votes that Speaker Pelosi needs to get reelected Speaker, is shameful,” Rep. Rodney Davis, (R-Il) said Sunday afternoon.
Upon assuming her fourth term, Pelosi told members of Congress that their “most urgent priority” remains to defeat the coronavirus pandemic. In addition, she asked that Congress “must do more to recognize” frontline workers. “They make our lives possible at the state and local level and will facilitate the distribution of the vaccine. We owe them more,” she said. “Many of our essential workers are from communities of color and low-wealth communities which have been devastatingly and disproportionately affected by the coronavirus. They have been there for us, and we must be there for them.”
In addition, Pelosi said that members should all work together to ensure the delivery of justice for all. She said: “With President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris, who was elected two months ago from today, the House will continue our work to save lives and livelihood, to build back better in a way that advances justice in America. Indeed, the pandemic has pulled back the curtain and shown even worsened disparities in our economy and our society. We must pursue justice: Economic justice, justice in health, racial justice, environmental and climate justice, the list goes on. Every morning in this chamber, we take a pledge: One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all,” emphasized Pelosi. “Liberty and Justice for All. Every day, Congress must live up to that pledge.”
Watch the Bloomberg Quicktake News report on Nancy Pelosi getting re-elected as Speaker of the House with a narrow Democratic majority:
With House Speaker Nancy Pelosi clinching her fourth term, what is in store for Americans under the 117th Congress? Do you see any relief coming for Americans? Let us know what you think. Drop us a line at the comment section below!