Hugs, not tears, as Dems lick their wounds

Hugs, not tears, as Dems lick their wounds
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House Democrats returned to the Capitol Wednesday to lick their wounds and comfort the casualties after last week's elections shifted more than a dozen new seats to the GOP.

Gathered on the House floor for the first votes of the lame-duck session, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other Democratic leaders offered hugs and condolences to outgoing members like Reps. Tim BishopTimothy (Tim) Howard BishopDem candidate 'struck by the parallels' between Trump's rise and Hitler's Dems separated by 29 votes in NY House primary Flint residents hire first K Street firm MORE (D-N.Y.) and Steven Horsford (D-Nev.), who lost their reelection bids on Nov. 4.

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Across the aisle, Republicans were all smiles and slapping-backs after picking up at least 14 seats in the midterms. For most, it was the first time they'd seen each other since the House recessed in September for the elections.

Presiding over the chamber, House Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerWary GOP eyes Meadows shift from brick-thrower to dealmaker Bottom line Cheney battle raises questions about House GOP's future MORE (R-Ohio) swore in three new members who won special elections, including Reps. Dave Brat (R-Va.) – whose primary defeat of former Majority Leader Eric CantorEric Ivan CantorTrump taps pollster to push back on surveys showing Biden with double-digit lead Bottom Line The Democrats' strategy conundrum: a 'movement' or a coalition? MORE blindsided Washington this summer – and Rep. Alma Adams (D-N.C.), who became the 100th woman in the 113th Congress – an historic milestone for the lower chamber.

The emotions in both parties were much less pronounced than those of four years ago, when the Democrats lost 63 seats in a rout that shifted control of the Speaker's gavel to the Republicans after just four years of Democratic rule. Still, the new members received a rowdy welcome from members on both sides of the aisle.

Each new member gave a brief speech. As Adams addressed the chamber, Pelosi, usually surrounded by a hoard of aides and lawmakers, sat alone, perched at the edge of her seat. When Adams was through, the minority leader – the first female Speaker in the nation's history – was the first lawmaker out of her seat in applause.

Rep. Ami BeraAmerish (Ami) Babulal BeraThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: iBIO Chairman and CEO Thomas Isett says developing a safe vaccine is paramount; US surpasses 150,000 coronavirus deaths with roughy one death per minute Democrats fear US already lost COVID-19 battle Karen Bass's star rises after leading police reform push MORE (D) was another center of attention. The California freshman is trailing GOP challenger Doug Ose by less than 1,000 votes, making the race too close to call even a week after voters went to the polls.

Rep. George Miller had a different reason for joining the embraces: The California Democrat is retiring next year after four decades in the lower chamber. 

Still, it was not all gloom for the Democrats, who found rare reason to celebrate Wednesday afternoon when the tight races involving Reps. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) and Julia BrownleyJulia Andrews BrownleyHouse Democrats eyeing much broader Phase 3 stimulus Assistant House Speaker self-quarantines out of 'abundance of caution' Actor Orlando Bloom to self-quarantine MORE (D-Calif.) were called in their favor. 

Brownley, for one, was showered on the floor with congratulations.