Long-time San Francisco Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), 80, secured her fourth term as Speaker of the House of Representatives on Sunday afternoon when the 117th Congress, which will serve until 2023, convened for the first day of the new session in Washington, DC.
Pelosi, who has served in Congress since the 1980s, received 216 votes for speaker, seven more votes than the runner-up, Congressman Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). Since she declared her intent to run for speaker again, Pelosi has not drawn any public challenges from other members of the caucus, although some have previously refused to disclose how they would vote.
In a brief speech on the House floor, Pelosi thanked Congressional Democrats for electing her to the speakership position for a fourth time since 2007, saying she would “endeavor to meet the moment with courage, unity, and grace.” Pelosi also said it was an honor to preside over “the most diverse House of Representatives in the history of our country, with a record-shattering 122 women.”
“Our most urgent priority will continue to be defeating the coronavirus — and defeat it we will,” said Pelosi, who referenced the passing of the recent COVID-19 relief package, which President Donald Trump signed into law back in late December.
Pelosi added: “With President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris, who were elected two months ago from today, the House will continue our work to save lives and livelihood, to build back better in a way that advances justice in America.”
“Indeed, the pandemic has pulled back the curtain and shown even worsened disparities in our economy and our society. We must pursue justice: Economic justice, justice in health, racial justice, environmental and climate justice, the list goes on. Every morning in this chamber, we take a pledge: One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all,” emphasized Pelosi. “Liberty and Justice for All. Every day, the Congress must live up to that pledge.”
Despite post-election turmoil within the Democratic caucus, only two Democrats ultimately defected and voted to change up who should serve as the top Democrat in the House. Congressman Conor Lamb, of Pennsylvania, voted for Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), and Congressman Jared Golden, of Maine, voted for Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL). Three Democrats voted “present” in the speaker election, two of whom voted for someone other than Pelosi in the 2019 speaker election, and the other of whom voted “present” in the 2019 speaker election.
All of the members of the progressive “Squad” voted for Pelosi, including the two newest members, Congresswoman Cori Bush (D-MO) and Congressman Jamal Bowman (D-NY). Bush and Bowman recently suggested they needed to consult with their communities before voting, and remained elusive about how they planned to vote.
Squad up. pic.twitter.com/bp2KATL22R
— Cori Bush (@CoriBush) January 3, 2021
Congressman Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who has served as House minority leader since 2019, secured the second-most votes in the speaker election, having drawn 209 votes from within the Republican caucus, seven fewer votes than Pelosi.