WASHINGTON (AP) — Nancy Pelosi was narrowly reelected Sunday as speaker, giving her the reins of Democrats’ slender House majority as President-elect Joe Biden sets a challenging course of producing legislation to tackle the pandemic, revive the economy and address other party priorities.
The California Democrat, who has led her party in the House since 2003 and is the only woman to be speaker, had been widely expected to retain her post. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), again will be the chamber’s minority leader.
To gain her victory, Pelosi had to overcome some Democratic grumbling about her longevity, a slim 222-211 edge over Republicans after the November election, and a handful of absences because of the coronavirus.
“We accept a responsibility as daunting and demanding as any that previous generations of leadership have faced,” the California Democrat told the chamber as she accepted a fresh two-year term in her post, perhaps her last. Citing the 350,000 Americans who’ve died from COVID-19 and the millions who’ve lost jobs and livelihoods, she won a standing ovation when she said, “Our most urgent priority will continue to be defeating the coronavirus. And defeat it, we will.”
There are two vacancies in the 435-member House, and whatever happens Democrats will have the smallest House majority in two decades.
Trademark and Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.