Rep. Rodney Davis, the top Republican on the House Management Committee, said: “The lack of outreach to the minority makes this percentage 100 percent political. To build such a structure, in the dark of night, to protect votes only Speaker Pelosi needs to be re-elected president. Shameful. “
In some ways, this is Pelosi’s most challenging speaker offer to date as she has had to shut down every sound meticulously, with virtually no room for error due to very narrow party margins, rebel Democrats and the potential for last-minute absences due to the coronavirus.
The magic number Pelosi needed to secure the hammer remained a moving target on Sunday. There are currently 222 Democrats and 211 Republicans in the new Congress with two vacant seats. In addition, three members were absent and a handful of Democrats voted “in attendance” or against Pelosi.
“This is a very challenging moment here in America, full of trials and tribulations, with a lot of pain, suffering and death,” Hakim Jefferies, head of the Democratic Assembly in the House of Representatives, said in his nomination speech for Pelosi. Nancy Pelosi is a steadfast leader. Brighter days are coming in the USA.
The voting mechanisms in the room looked a lot different from what they did two years ago, when Pelosi returned to the speaker chair for a historic second time after losing a majority in 2010.. While each member was still standing one by one to cast their votes, only a few dozen lawmakers from each party were supposed to be on the ground at one time.
On the Democratic side, lawmakers sat several seats away from each other, although many Republicans violated health guidelines and sat side by side in the House.
The tone of the day was also less festive than it was in 2018, as the public health crisis remained at the forefront of members of both parties. Several members used their moments in the spotlight to present personal awards to a speaker: Rep. Steve Cohen (Democrat, Tennessee), for example, described Pelosi as “the best spokesperson in US history.”
Meanwhile, Republicans have endorsed House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy for the House Speaker position, including many who rejected him the previous time.
But there was much less euphoria surrounding the vote two years ago.
Pelosi, 80, and her allies have engaged in an intense behind-the-scenes lobbying campaign over the past several weeks to secure full support within the party caucus, including some vocal critics of Khatib. Senior Democrats struggled to manage attendance until the last hours – they even called the offices multiple times to confirm lawmakers’ attendance.
With the vote approaching, the Democrats were expecting only one absentee from their side – 84-year-old Representative Alsey Hastings (Florida Democrat), who is battling pancreatic cancer. Republicans were expecting two absences – Rep. David Valadao (R from California) and Maria Elvira Salazar (Republic of Florida), who had tested positive for the Coronavirus in recent days.
Democratic Representative Gwen Moore of Wisconsin, who also recently tested positive for the coronavirus, was cleared of quarantine in the middle of the night and was able to travel to Washington to vote. Moore told Politico that although she did not receive a negative coronavirus test, her doctors have allowed her to attend on Sunday.
But not every Democrat was planning to vote for Pelosi, despite stark warnings from senior party members that he should do so. Representative Jared Golden (Democrat of Maine) became the first defection that day, casting his vote for Senator Tammy Duckworth (Democrat from Illinois), although his vote was widely expected. Representative Connor Lamb (D-Pennsylvania), who chose Jeffries as the speaker, followed. Like Golden, Lamb was not expected to support Pelosi’s bid.
Rep. Elisa Slotkin of Michigan, who was one of 15 Democrats who did not support Pelosi as a speaker in 2019, voted to “attend” Sunday, as did Rep. Abigail Spanberger (Democrat of Virginia) and Mickey Sherrill (DN. J.).
“I don’t support the speaker,” Slotkin said before the vote. “I will vote present because no one is running against it.”
Ten of those fifteen Democrats were returning to Congress 117, while three lost in the election, and one, Rep. Anthony Brindisi of New York, was still locked in the vote count for his seat and one, Rep. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, switched parties last year. Pelosi succeeded in turning down several Democratic dissidents in the run-up to Sunday’s election.
For the first time since May, all members had to attend and vote rather than miss the proxy vote that was put in place in the last Congress as the pandemic swept the country. Voting is expected to last for hours – with MPs wearing their required masks, being summoned to the House of Representatives room in batches to cast their ballots in order to limit the number of people gathering together simultaneously.
Pelosi has already made history during her three decades in the House of Representatives, including nearly two decades leading the Democratic Rally. The California Democrat is the only woman to use a spokesperson’s gavel and the first lawmaker in six decades to call the hammer in 2019 after losing it.
Now Pelosi must navigate one of the House’s weakest majorities in decades during the final turbulent days of President Donald Trump before she prepares to enter a new era in President-elect Joe Biden.
One of the last moments of Trump’s term will come Wednesday as Republicans in the House and Senate make a doomed last-ditch attempt to reverse Biden’s victory when Congress meets to ratify the election results.
These efforts will not succeed, but they will guarantee a long day, and possibly bleed the next, after dozens of Republican senators announce plans to join dozens of their fellow Republicans. a challenge Biden wins the Electoral College.
Pelosi’s expected fourth term as president comes two years after a group of Democratic rebels attempted to block her path to the hammer, and only backed away after she agreed to a four-year term in the House.
But in many ways since then, Pelosi has only built up more of her power, positioning herself as Trump’s main antagonist during May 116.The tenth Congress, which began under the shadow of the longest government shutdown in history, ultimately led to the impeachment of the president before it was consumed by the coronavirus that has effectively shut down the country for the past nine months.
Pelosi did not face a competitor this time but was questioned again and again whether this would, in fact, be her last term.
“What I said next is whether or not it passes, I will stick to those limits that are there,” Pelosi Reporters in November About the deal it struck with the Democratic rebels in 2018.
Olivia Beavers contributed to this report.