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Nancy Pelosi elected House speaker, reclaims gavel to lead Democrats' new majority

Nancy Pelosi was officially elected the new House speaker on Thursday in a majority vote by the House of Rep...

Posted: Jan 3, 2019 8:20 PM
Updated: Jan 3, 2019 8:20 PM

Nancy Pelosi was officially elected the new House speaker on Thursday in a majority vote by the House of Representatives on the first day of the 116th Congress.

She defeated the Republican nominee Kevin McCarthy, winning 220 votes. McCarthy becomes the House minority leader.

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As House speaker, Pelosi will regularly face off against President Donald Trump and will preside over an emboldened and energized Democratic majority that is poised to launch aggressive oversight of the President and his administration.

One of the most immediate challenges confronting Pelosi as leader of the new House Democratic majority will be the fight over the President's long-promised border wall that triggered a standoff between congressional Democrats and the President and resulted in a partial government shutdown, which is now in its second week.

Pelosi also makes history as she reclaims a title she previously held when she served as the first and so far only female House speaker from 2007 to 2011.

"We enter this new Congress with a sense of great hope and confidence for the future and deep humility," Pelosi said in remarks shortly after being elected to the speakership.

"Our nation is at a historic moment," she continued. "Two months ago, the American people spoke and demanded a new dawn."

A small, but vocal, faction of Democrats initially worked to derail Pelosi's bid to become the next speaker following the 2018 midterm elections, but no challenger against her ever emerged and she ultimately succeed in winning over many of her critics.

Twelve Democrats voted for others besides Pelosi, including former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, Rep. Cheri Bustos of Illinois, Rep. Stephanie Murphy of Florida, Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, Rep. Joe Kennedy of Massachusetts, Rep. Marcia Fudge of Ohio, and Stacey Abrams, who unsuccessfully ran for governor of Georgia. Three Democrats voted present.

Pelosi has already outlined a plan for Democrats to pass a legislative package later in the day on Thursday to re-open shuttered parts of the government. Contrary to the President's demands for $5 billion for a border wall, however, the legislation does not provide any new wall funding, setting up an early confrontation between the new Democratic majority and the administration.

Pelosi spoke about other priorities on the Democratic agenda after her election on Thursday -- describing climate change as well as income inequality as pressing problems that need to be addressed.

"We will call upon bold thinking to address the disparity of income in America, which is at the root of the crisis of confidence felt by so many Americans," Pelosi said.

"We must also face the existential threat of our time: the climate crisis," she added.

In a nod to the historic nature of her election, Pelosi said she felt "particularly proud" to serve as "the woman speaker of the House of this Congress which marks the 100th year of women having the right to vote."

She added that it is a "privilege to serve with over 100 women members of Congress, the largest number in history."

Pelosi's path to the speakership

Pelosi always projected confidence that she would reclaim the Speaker's gavel, but faced criticism and pushback along the way.

At the end of November, she secured the nomination to become speaker by winning support from a majority of House Democrats -- a total of 203 votes in closed-door leadership elections. But she came up slightly short of the total 218 votes typically needed to win the speakership in the final January vote.

To become Speaker requires the support of a majority of all members of the House who are present and voting, a threshold that could be as high as 218 votes. It would be possible for Pelosi to win with fewer votes, as several previous House speakers have, if some members vote present or decline to participate.

Ahead of the final vote, Pelosi deployed her deal-making abilities to win over detractors, and by mid-December, she appeared to have secured the votes necessary to prevail after negotiating an agreement with some of the Democrats who had been lobbying to block her from the speakership. As part of the agreement, Pelosi backed a proposal to enact term limits for the party's top three leaders.

"I see myself as a bridge to the next generation of leaders, a recognition of my continuing responsibility to mentor and advance new Members into positions of power and responsibility in the House Democratic Caucus," Pelosi said in a statement at the time.

This story has been updated with additional developments from Thursday.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 13260

Reported Deaths: 625
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds89324
Lauderdale67855
Madison65421
Scott58910
Neshoba51231
Forrest48034
Jones46713
DeSoto4616
Leake38410
Holmes36523
Rankin3496
Jackson29613
Copiah2784
Attala27014
Lincoln24320
Monroe24224
Leflore24025
Harrison2346
Newton2243
Lamar2194
Yazoo2152
Pearl River20327
Pike19611
Adams18615
Lowndes1607
Noxubee1586
Washington1535
Warren1506
Bolivar14010
Jasper1393
Oktibbeha13410
Smith13110
Covington1271
Chickasaw12612
Clarke12616
Kemper12510
Lafayette1233
Carroll11310
Wayne1090
Marion1088
Lee1045
Clay993
Winston981
Coahoma983
Lawrence901
Hancock8711
Simpson850
Itawamba857
Yalobusha824
Wilkinson829
Montgomery781
Sunflower773
Grenada752
Jefferson Davis712
Union715
Tippah7011
Marshall693
Panola622
Calhoun604
Tate591
Claiborne581
Humphreys537
Amite521
Walthall510
Tunica483
Perry462
Jefferson400
Prentiss383
Stone300
Choctaw292
Webster271
Pontotoc263
Franklin252
Tishomingo250
Quitman240
Tallahatchie241
George191
Alcorn151
Benton140
Greene71
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 14478

Reported Deaths: 551
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile1996109
Jefferson161488
Montgomery118630
Marshall6499
Tuscaloosa50512
Lee49832
Franklin4476
Shelby43319
Tallapoosa39662
Butler34411
Chambers33623
Madison2964
Baldwin2749
Elmore2637
Etowah23610
DeKalb2213
Coffee2001
Walker1981
Dallas1973
Sumter1916
Lowndes18610
Houston1644
Morgan1621
Autauga1593
Calhoun1413
Choctaw1414
Pike1360
Colbert1362
Marengo1336
Hale1293
Russell1280
Lauderdale1282
Randolph1257
Wilcox1187
Marion11310
Bullock1111
Barbour1101
Clarke1022
St. Clair1021
Pickens934
Talladega912
Greene894
Chilton871
Dale830
Cullman760
Limestone740
Jackson692
Covington651
Washington645
Winston620
Macon602
Bibb591
Crenshaw582
Henry562
Blount491
Escambia433
Lawrence420
Coosa331
Geneva330
Cherokee332
Perry310
Monroe282
Clay272
Conecuh251
Lamar200
Cleburne131
Fayette110
Unassigned00
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