Nancy Pelosi was narrowly re-elected speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives on Sunday (January 3), as a new Congress took office amid political uncertainty, with Senate control undecided and a Republican fight looming over presidential election results.
The House voted 216-209 to reinstate Pelosi, after Democrats lost 11 seats in the November elections to command a narrower 222-212 majority. Five Democrats chose not to support her – two voted for Democratic lawmakers who were not running, while three others simply voted “present.”
“As we are sworn in today, we accept a responsibility as daunting and demanding as any that previous generations of leadership have faced. We begin the new Congress during a time of extraordinary difficulty,” Pelosi said in a floor speech that noted the deaths of more than 350,000 Americans from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our most urgent priority will continue to be defeating the coronavirus. And defeat it, we will,” she added, pledging that further aid would follow the latest $892 billion package that Congress passed in December.
The Senate remains Republican run ahead of twin elections in Georgia on Tuesday, giving its members a platform to again air President Donald Trump’s baseless claims that his loss to Democratic President-elect Joe Biden was the result of fraud.
Multiple state and federal reviews have found no evidence of the sort of widespread fraud Trump claims, but Republican senators and House members plan to challenge the election result when Congress certifies it on Wednesday.
(Production: Vanessa Johnston)