Pelosi is likely a speaker again, but might require a high level act

WASHINGTON: There is no doubt that Nancy Pelosi will be re-elected Speaker of the House when the new Congress meets on Sunday. It could take a high-level act for it to get there, thanks in large part to the pandemic.
The only woman in history to have been a speaker, the Californian Democrat has the reputation of being a formidable counter-vote and a cunning cutter. These skills have helped her fend off threats and consolidate her as her party leader in the House since 2003, and appear likely to prevail on January 3, when the Constitution demands that the new Congress begin.
“Yeah, I do,” Pelosi told a reporter this week when asked if she had completed the votes.
In what seemed like an indication of confidence, Pelosi told reporters on Wednesday that Representative-elect Mariannette Miller-Meeks, R-Iowa, would be sworn in, even as Democratic opponent Rita Hart’s challenge to the election results remains in the limelight. review of the House. Miller-Meeks will certainly vote against Pelosi to be the president.
Even so, the terrain Pelosi faces will leave almost no margin for error.
The full house elects the president, and Democrats will have the smallest majority in the house in 20 years in a vote in which Republicans are certain to vote unanimously against her, joined by Democratic deserters. Democrats will have a 222-211 advantage, with a race still undecided and one vacant following the election of representatives Luke letlow, R-La., Died Tuesday after battling Covid-19.
The raging coronavirus pandemic, combined with routine illnesses and the usual risks of winter travel, could make attendance unpredictable for the first roll call in the House in months that lawmakers will have to attend in person. To avoid the risks of exposure to Covid-19, the House changed its rules this year to allow its members to vote by proxy from their homes, but this change dies with the former Congress.
“I’m fine,” Pelosi said when asked if absence from COVID-19 was a problem.
The election of the president, in which MPs traditionally vote verbally in alphabetical order, has long been the first vote in the new chamber. Due to concerns over COVID-19, lawmakers will vote in groups on a roll call that is expected to last three to four hours.
“This is extremely delicate” for Pelosi, said Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., An 18-year-old Congress veteran. Still, he said, he expects her to win “because I don’t see what the alternative is.” for Democrats.
To ensure they are at full strength, leaders on both sides are urging lawmakers to take health precautions and return to Washington well before Sunday to avoid travel problems.
In memos this week, Congressional Chief Medical Officer Dr Brian Monahan and Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving told House members that all guests, including family, will need to adhere to local requirements of the District of Columbia for the COVID-19 test.
On a day when members’ families and friends normally swarm across Capitol Hill, new chamber students will only be allowed one guest each in the chamber gallery to watch them take the oath. Returning members will not be allowed any guest in the gallery.
An email from Monahan distributed to lawmakers on Wednesday outlines guidelines for testing, quarantine and mask wearing. He said travel to Washington by family members of members “is very likely to cause significant hardship and risk of exposure to diseases that are best avoided.”
Leading Democrats have checked the readiness of lawmakers who have had serious health concerns. McGovern says Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., 84, who battles pancreatic cancer, told him he plans to attend. representative Mark DeSaulnier, D-Calif., Who nearly died of pneumonia after falling while running in March and has been recovering since, says he told Pelosi he would return to Capitol Hill for opening day.
“I plan to go back there because it’s my job,” said DeSaulnier, 68.
Pelosi retains the support of most Democrats, who revere her for leading their 2018 House takeover and battles against President Donald Asset. She kept the moderates and progressives in her party largely united and raised tons of money for the campaign.
But at 80, roughly the same age as his two top lieutenants, Pelosi remains a source of frustration for young Democrats eager to rise through the ranks. Discontent and division grew after the expected gains in last month’s election evaporated and 12 Democrats lost seats in the House, prompting calls for new messengers in response to criticism that party leaders have done a poor job of campaigning on the country’s deep economic problems.
No Democratic rival of Pelosi has emerged, greatly reducing the chances of her being toppled. Perhaps unanimously, Republicans will support Rep. Kevin mccarthy of California as orator, but he seems destined to become leader of the minority again.
Even so, Pelosi must downplay the number of Democrats opposing her.
Of 15 Democrats who resisted her when she was elected president in January 2019, three lost their re-election last month. One is in a race where the votes are still counted and another has become a Republican.
That leaves 10 Democrats who opposed her two years ago. Among these, Washington Rep. Kurt schrader said he was now ready to support her and at least two others said they would, Jason Crow from Colorado and Jim Cooper from Tennessee.
“She has led a controversial Democratic caucus well during the pandemic and the Trump presidency,” Cooper said.
It’s unclear how many of the 15 new Democratic freshmen might oppose Pelosi.
Some suggest the tight numbers could encourage Pelosi’s Democratic critics to force the ballot to a rare run-off, when she could eventually win but perhaps be forced to promise bills the House would consider or other concessions. People mentioning this scenario insisted on anonymity to describe the behind-the-scenes conversations.
Voting for the speaker only needed multiple ballots 14 times, including in 1923, the only time since the Civil War.