Pelosi Secures Another Term as Speaker of the House

"nancy-pelosi-capitol-hill-2" (public domain) by Bruce Detorres

Nancy Pelosi, long time San Francisco Congresswoman, secured her fourth term as Speaker of the House on Sunday afternoon. Pelosi, who has served in Congress since 1980, will be sitting as the Speaker until 2023. 

On Sunday after in the 117th Congress, Pelosi received 216 votes for Speaker, just seven more votes than Congressman Kevin McCarthy, the runner-up in the senate election. This means that Pelosi needed every single vote to win another term as the Speaker of the House.

Pelosi has led the Democratic Party in the House since the year 2003. She is also the only woman ever to hold the office of the Speaker. The runner up, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), will again be the minority leader of the chamber. 

Four hundred twenty-seven members of the House answered present when the roll was called. Out of this number, 220 were Democrats, and 207 were Republicans. With this number, Pelosi needed a majority of 214 votes to win the seat and could lose only six Democratic votes to maintain her post. 

However, in an odd twist of events, House officials who had been exposed to coronavirus were placed in a special plexiglass box chamber so they could still cast their votes. 

This move, however, outraged the top Republican on the House Administration Committee. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL) said, “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,” the top Republican on the House Administration Committee.

Davis added that the lack of communication with the minority party in the House made this move “100% political.”

Last Sunday, Davis also told reporters, “This is completely against everything we’re told throughout this entire pandemic for house operations.”

At the end of the session, 427 lawmakers cast their votes, including Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI), who tested positive for COVID-19 on December 28. However, she was cleared from quarantine at the midnight before the election and traveled to Washington in order to cast their vote. Out of the 220 Democrats, five cast their ballots for someone else or simply voted “present.”

Meanwhile, Rep. Jared Golden (D-ME) was the first to defect from the Democratic party by casting his vote instead for Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL). Another Representative cast his vote for someone other than Pelosi, Rep. Conor Lamb (D-PA) voted for House Democratic Caucus Chairman, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY). 

The representatives who merely voted “present” during the session were Reps. Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ), Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), and Abigail Spanberger (D-VA).

All of the named representatives had opposed Pelosi two years ago. Lamb voted for former Representative Joe Kennedy (D-MA), while Spanberger, Sherrill, and Golden voted for Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL). Then Slotkin, who was a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman at that time, voted “present.” 

In the 2019 election for Speaker of the House, there were 15 Democrats who did not back up Pelosi. This made Pelosi the sixth Speaker in history to win the seat with fewer than 218 votes.

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