Nancy Pelosi has taken up the gavel as the House Speaker and her encore makes her the first person to serve more than one term since 1955.
The House convened on Thursday afternoon for leadership elections after new members were sworn-in on Capitol Hill. It was unclear if Pelosi would have enough votes as some defectors in the party wanted new leadership.
From Associated Press:
Pelosi’s return to the speaker’s office was not guaranteed. A core group of rank-and-file Democrats has hungered for new leadership, saying it’s time for a new generation to take the helm. They tired of the Republican attack ads featuring Pelosi that are constantly run against them back home, and they worried she would be a drag on efforts to keep the majority in the next election. They enlisted some of the newcomers from the freshmen class to their ranks to try to stop her from regaining the gavel.
But one by one, Pelosi peeled away the skeptics, flipping “no” votes to the “yes” column, sometimes in a matter of days. Some were given lead positions on their legislative priorities, even a gavel of their own to chair special panels.
And Pelosi gave a little, too, promising, at 78, to serve no more than four years in leadership, making way for the next generation.
In her first act as Speaker, Pelosi gaveled in the new, 116th session of Congress.
“On Thursday, the 78-year-old Pelosi will be the first person in more than six decades, since the legendary Texas Democrat Sam Rayburn, to return to the speaker’s chair after losing it. She will be surrounded by children as she does so, a replay of an iconic moment from her January 2007 swearing-in ceremony as the first female speaker in history,” Politico reports.
But Pelosi will also tie Rayburn on another front by becoming the oldest person ever elected speaker and the oldest to hold the post, a testament to both her staying power and the fact that her return engagement to the speakership will be limited.
Unlike her original go-round as speaker from 2007 to 2011, when the California Democrat was at her most powerful, Pelosi will face a whole new set of challenges during the 116th Congress — a fractious caucus full of upstart progressives who want to move an ambitious agenda; the unpredictable President Donald Trump, who has greeted Pelosi’s return to power with an ongoing government shutdown; a determined, experienced foe in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who runs his own chamber with a tight grip; and self-imposed term limits on her speakership of four years.
Pelosi, as MSN reports, has vowed not to cave to President Trump’s request for border wall funding. The president said he would keep the government closed until he gets $5 billion—a number he said he would be willing to negotiate on—for its construction.
According to the report, the new House Speaker said she would not be willing to give him anything.
“Are you willing to come up and give him some of this money for the wall?” NBC’s Savannah Guthrie reportedly asked Pelosi.
“No, no. Nothing for the wall,” Pelosi responded. “We’re talking about border security. We can go through this all back and forth — no. How many more times can we say no? Nothing for the wall.”