ALL NEWS

Dems nominate Pelosi as speaker of the House to lead into Biden era

Nov 18, 2020, 3:50 PM
Pelosi speaker...
FILE - In this Nov. 12, 2020, file photo speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., pauses as she meets with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington. House Democrats seem certain to nominate Pelosi for two more years as speaker, but she’ll be leading a smaller majority divided along ideological lines as it tries shepherding President-elect Joe Biden’s agenda toward enactment. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Democrats nominated Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday to be the speaker who guides them again next year as Joe Biden becomes president, and she quickly seemed to suggest these would be her final two years in the leadership post.

The California Democrat, the first woman to be speaker, was nominated by acclamation as the party’s lawmakers used a pandemic-induced virtual meeting to pick their leaders. Pelosi already has served six years in the job, but the next two loom as her toughest.

After unexpectedly losing at least 10 incumbents in this month’s elections, Democrats will have about a 222-213 majority, the tightest margin in two decades. That prospect has demoralized many Democrats and ignited blame-trading between moderates and progressives over why they flopped on Election Day.

In addition, Biden and Congress will confront an uncontrolled coronavirus pandemic, a virus-stifled economy and jagged divisions among voters who largely either idolize or detest outgoing President Donald Trump. And there’s anxiety already among Democrats looking ahead to 2022 and the midterm elections, which historically are punishing for the party that controls the White House.

Against that backdrop, many House Democrats have for years impatiently insisted it’s time for fresh leadership. Pelosi and her top two lieutenants, Steny Hoyer of Maryland and Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, have served in their positions together for over a dozen years and each is age 80 or older.

Pelosi called for unity when she addressed her colleagues Wednesday after winning the nomination. “The theme, I think, of what we do next has to be about justice” in the economy, health care and policing, she said, according to a transcript released by her office.

When a reporter asked Pelosi later whether the next two years would be her last as speaker, it was little surprise that she mentioned a commitment she made in 2018. Scrambling to win enough votes to become speaker, she said then that she would agree to limit her term to four more years.

“I can’t wait to be working with Joe Biden and preparing us for our transition into the future,” she said Wednesday. “So I don’t want to undermine any leverage I may have, but I made the statement.”

Biden’s office said the president-elect called Pelosi to congratulate her selection and spoke of working together “on a shared agenda to get COVID-19 under control and build our economy back better.”

All House members will pick the speaker when the new Congress convenes in early January. Hoyer was re-elected majority leader and Clyburn as the No. 3 Democratic leaders on Wednesday, party posts that need no House approval. Pelosi, Hoyer and Clyburn all won without opposition.

To become speaker again, Pelosi will need more votes than House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., who’s likely to garner nearly unanimous GOP support. That means Pelosi will need roughly 218 votes to prevail and can ill afford to lose more than a sprinkling of Democratic support.

Though she’s likely to succeed, it won’t be simple because when Pelosi was elected speaker in January 2019, 15 Democrats opposed her. Ten remain in Congress plus New York Rep. Anthony Brindisi, whose race remains uncalled, and New Jersey Rep. Jeff Van Drew, who became a Republican.

At least one former Pelosi opponent, Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., has already said he’s open to backing her as speaker this time.

He said in an interview that he’s spoken to her about the need to rebrand Democrats as more moderate. “She may be the bulwark against the extreme far left,” he said.

In addition, there will be at least 15 first-term Democrats in the freshmen next year, and it was unclear how many will support Pelosi. Hinting that she won’t try leading Democrats again in 2022 may help her nail down the votes she needs.

One favorite to succeed her is New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, 50, a four-term Brooklyn lawmaker. His skills range from consensus building to launching stinging oratorical salvos at Trump, who he this week called the “hater in chief.”

Other Democrats eager to move up in leadership ranks include Reps. Katherine Clark of Massachusetts, David Cicilline of Rhode Island and Tony Cardenas of California. Jeffries and Clark were elected to top leadership posts on Wednesday, with Clark defeating Cicilline for the No. 4 jobs.

“The new ideas, the freshness that comes with that is important for the American people to see,” said Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, who’s unsuccessfully challenged Pelosi before but now says he’s a supporter. “And so yeah, I think she does another couple of years, allows everyone else to move up, I think is a good thing.”

It’s unclear whether Hoyer, a moderate, or Clyburn, Congress’s highest-ranking Black lawmaker, would attempt to succeed Pelosi. Clyburn’s status within the party was supercharged this year when he revived Biden’s near-comatose bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in February by helping him win the South Carolina primary.

Pelosi came to Congress in 1987 and has led House Democrats, both as the minority and the majority party, ever since 2003. When Democrats recaptured the majority in 2018 and she regained the speakership, she had early clashes with far-left newcomers such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., but those were subsumed as the party pulled together to oust Trump.

Pelosi has won wide acclaim among Democrats as a leading Trump foe in battles over impeachment, immigration and health care. She’s given as good as she’s gotten from the insult-prone Republican president, sometimes directly to his face, prompting him to call her “Crazy Nancy” and supporters to create memes and action figures honoring her.

Pelosi has pushed bills through the House — before they died in the GOP-run Senate — embodying Democratic priorities such as overhauling ethics and campaign finance laws, lowering health care costs and rebuilding infrastructure. She’s also been a prodigious fundraiser for candidates.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

Great Salt Lake State Park and Marina...
Mark Jones

How much will it take to save the Great Salt Lake?

A bipartisan bill was passed in the U.S. Senate aimed at giving funding toward the study of The Great Salt Lake and other saline lakes in the west.
1 day ago
goblin mode...
Christian Edwards, CNN

‘Goblin mode’ chosen as Oxford word of the year for 2022

According to OUP, the term refers to a behavior which is "self-indulgent, lazy, or greedy, typically in a way that rejects social norms or expectations."
1 day ago
free national park...
Aimee Cobabe

Lawsuit against Arches National Park after incident resulting in the death of a woman

A trial is underway after a woman was decapitated at Arches National Park. Her family alleges the park was negligent in not securing a gate that killed her.
1 day ago
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 19:  The U.S. Capitol is shown as a looming government shutdown threatens ...
Manu Raju and Phil Mattingly, CNN

Defense bill likely to include end to military Covid vaccine mandate, source says

A massive bill setting defense policy is likely to end the military Covid vaccine mandate, a source familiar with the negotiations tells CNN.
1 day ago
kindergarten gap year...
Tom Haraldsen

Checking in on the status of full-day kindergarten in Utah

Policy analyst with Voices for Utah Children reveals whether full-day kindergarten could be in the cards for next year.
1 day ago
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 03:  Actress Kirstie Alley attends the "Kirstie" premiere party at Harlow o...
Dan Heching, Amy Simonson and Taylor Romine, CNN

Kirstie Alley, ‘Cheers’ and ‘Veronica’s Closet’ star, dead at 71

Actress Kirstie Alley has died after a brief battle with cancer, her children announced on social media.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 game day snacks for the whole family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...
Sorenson

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Dems nominate Pelosi as speaker of the House to lead into Biden era