Pelosi Wins House Speaker Seat for the Fourth Time
Nancy Pelosi was reelected on Sunday as Speaker, giving her control over the Democrats' slender House majority.
Pelosi is seen to face major obstacles as President-elect Joe Biden sets a challenge of producing a measure to address the pandemic, while also trying to revive the economy and address other party issues, the Associated Press reported.
Since 2003, Pelosi has led the Democratic party in the House. She is also the sole woman to be elected in the Speaker position.
Pelosi managed to grab the post with 216 to 209 votes for Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif, who will be the chamber's minority leader again.
Democrats gave Pelosi a standing ovation as the final count was announced. On the other hand, the Republican side of the chamber was nearly empty.
Pelosi had to surpass some comments about her longevity in the position, with a slim 222-221 edge over Republicans after November's elections and a handful of absences due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new Congress met on Sunday, only two days after the lawmakers ended their previous session. House members are required to comply with COVID-19 guidelines, which involve testing and face covering.
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York officially nominated Pelosi for the position. Jeffries said that Pelosi is a notorious negotiator and a legendary legislator during a time like this.
"Brighter days are ahead in the United States of America. This is the day of great renewal in the House of Representatives," Jeffries said in a report.
Jeffries is expected to contend for the position once Pelosi steps aside. The Sunday's vote for the next Speaker lasted over two and a half hours, which is an unusually long time as lawmakers voted in groups of around 72 each to minimize the potential spread of the virus.
According to a The Wall Street Journal report, some lawmakers voted behind plexiglass as they had been recently exposed to the coronavirus. However, they had already tested negative for COVID-19.
Republicans objected to the plexiglass setup, which they claimed that the Democrats used against them to allow Pelosi to get more votes for the Speaker.
Illinois Rep. Rodney Davis said that the lack of communication with the minority makes it 100 percent political.
"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," Davis noted in a report. Davis is the top Republican on the House Administration Committee.
Meanwhile, Pelosi expressed her gratitude for the opportunity to serve as the Speaker again. In a letter to colleagues, Pelosi said she is enormously grateful for the trust that members had in her.
Pelosi added that she is confident that the Speaker's election will show a united Democratic Caucus ready to meet the challenges ahead, NBC News reported.
A few House members were not expected to attend the Speaker election, such as Alcee Hastings, who is battling pancreatic cancer. Also included in the list are David Valadao, R-Calif., and Maria Elvira Salazar, R-Fla., who tested positive for COVID-19.
Subscribe to Latin Post!
Sign up for our free newsletter for the Latest coverage!