House elects Pelosi to second Speakership

Rep. Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiJohnson eyes Irish border in Brexit negotiations Mueller report fades from political conversation Five key players in Trump's trade battles MORE (D-Calif.) on Thursday seized the Speaker’s gavel for the second time in a dozen years, marking an historic return to power for the nation’s first female Speaker and ushering in what promises to be a new era of oversight for President TrumpDonald John TrumpFacebook releases audit on conservative bias claims Harry Reid: 'Decriminalizing border crossings is not something that should be at the top of the list' Recessions happen when presidents overlook key problems MORE and his administration.

Pelosi won the Speakership in a 220-192 vote over Rep. Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyOmar says US should reconsider aid to Israel I'm not a Nazi, I'm just a dude: What it's like to be the other Steve King Trump finds consistent foil in 'Squad' MORE (R-Calif.), the House minority leader.

Twelve Democrats voted for candidates other than Pelosi, who worked to crush a Democratic insurgency that initially appeared to threaten her Speakership bid. Six Republicans voted against McCarthy. 

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Three Democrats, Reps. Jim CooperJames (Jim) Hayes Shofner CooperLive coverage: House Oversight examines Trump family separation policy House panel OKs space military branch Overnight Defense: Officials approved sending Saudis nuclear technology after Khashoggi killing | Space Command pick warns of challenges ahead | Lawmakers clash over bill blocking low-yield nukes MORE (Tenn.), Elissa SlotkinElissa SlotkinHouse Democrats urge Trump to end deportations of Iraqis after diabetic man's death Hillicon Valley: Capital One faces investigation over massive breach | DHS warns of cyber vulnerability in small aircraft | Senate bill would ban 'addictive' social media features Democrats take another stab at preventing foreign election interference MORE (Mich.) and Jeff Van DrewJeff Van DrewRepublicans plot comeback in New Jersey The House Democrats who voted to kill impeachment effort House Democrats seek to move past rifts with minimum wage bill MORE (N.J.), voted "present."

Pelosi, 78, agreed to limit her new Speakership to a maximum of four more years in order to win over some critics within her party. That concession brought a handful of Pelosi's early critics to her side in Thursday's vote, assuring her rise to the Speakership. 

Pelosi had spent weeks corralling Democratic support, with the idea that she would need 218 votes — a majority of the full chamber — to secure the Speaker’s gavel.

In fact, the number was lower than that, due to the absence of Rep. Walter JonesWalter Beaman JonesThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic infighting threatens 2020 unity Heavy loss by female candidate in Republican NC runoff sparks shock Greg Murphy wins GOP primary runoff for North Carolina House seat MORE (R-N.C.), who’s fighting an illness; the three “present” votes on the Democratic side; and one outstanding race — North Carolina’s Ninth District — still to be called.

Those dynamics lowered the threshold Pelosi required, since House rules dictate that an elected Speaker needs a simple majority of lawmakers who are on the chamber floor and vote for an individual — a guideline that excludes "present" votes and vacancies.

In accepting the post, Pelosi vowed to work across the aisle, when possible, but also to fight for Democratic priorities, when necessary, on issues as varied as health care, income disparity, immigration and climate change.
 

“[Voters] want a Congress that delivers results for the people, opening up opportunity and lifting up their lives,” Pelosi said in her prepared remarks, distributed to reporters before the vote.

The blueprint sets the stage for frequent clashes with the GOP-controlled Senate and the Trump White House — an adversarial dynamic highlighted by the current impasse over federal spending that’s led to a prolonged partial government shutdown.

The Democrats’ return to House power marks the first divided Congress since the Republicans took control of the Senate in 2015. And notably, Pelosi was quick to underscore the constitutional responsibility of Congress to act as a check on the presidency — a duty Democrats have accused Republicans of neglecting since Trump took office two years ago.

“Our nation is at an historic moment,” Pelosi said in her remarks. “Two months ago, the American people spoke, and demanded a new dawn.”

In taking the gavel a second time, Pelosi became the first lawmaker to become Speaker in nonconsecutive Congresses since Rep. Sam Rayburn (D-Texas) in 1955. 

On hand to watch the historic swearing in were a host of Pelosi’s family members — including all nine of her grandchildren — and a handful of celebrities, including Tony Bennett and Micky Hart, the drummer for Grateful Dead.

On the Democratic side of the aisle, the mood was electric as virtually every lawmaker stepped up to announce their support for Pelosi — many with enthusiastic flourishes or an auxiliary message.

"Nancy 'No Wall' Pelosi," bellowed newly elected Veronica EscobarVeronica EscobarCongressional Hispanic Caucus calls for answers on Mississippi ICE raids Consoler in Chief like Biden is the perfect antidote to a Divider in Chief like Trump Democratic senator on possibility of Trump standing up to the NRA: 'That's just such BS' MORE (D), who represents a Texas border district.  

When it was Pelosi's time to vote, a pair of her grandchildren did a dance in the aisle.

In several respects, Pelosi faces a more grueling landscape than she did in first taking the Speaker’s gavel in 2007.

Pelosi will be squaring off against an unpredictable president with a penchant for lashing out at his adversaries — a list that has included Pelosi — and appeasing his conservative base.

Yet Pelosi will also confront challenges within her own diverse caucus, which will feature an enormous freshmen class, including a host of young ideologues vowing to fight for far-left ideals like Medicare-for-all and government guaranteed jobs.

The potential divisions were on display on Thursday, when Rep. Brad ShermanBradley (Brad) James ShermanHillicon Valley: Trump seeks review of Pentagon cloud-computing contract | FTC weighs updating kids' internet privacy rules | Schumer calls for FaceApp probe | Report says states need more money to secure elections Here are the 95 Democrats who voted to support impeachment Maxine Waters says her committee will call in Zuckerberg to testify about Libra MORE (D-Calif.) announced that he’ll use the first day of the new Congress to re-introduce articles of impeachment against Trump — an idea rejected by Pelosi and her leadership team, who are calling for a conclusion to Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerMueller report fades from political conversation Trump calls for probe of Obama book deal Democrats express private disappointment with Mueller testimony MORE’s probe into Russian election interference before taking such a remarkable step.

Pelosi on Thursday acknowledged the challenges ahead, but vowed to confront them head on.

“We have no illusions that our work will be easy, that all of us in this chamber will always agree.  But let each of us pledge that when we disagree, we will respect each other and we will respect the truth,” she said.

“We will debate and advance good ideas no matter where they come from.”

Reps. Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerOmar says US should reconsider aid to Israel Liberal Democrat eyes aid cuts to Israel after Omar, Tlaib denied entry Lawmakers blast Trump as Israel bars door to Tlaib and Omar MORE (D-Md.) and Jim ClyburnJames (Jim) Enos ClyburnIsrael denies Omar and Tlaib entry after Trump tweet Democrats race across country to woo activists Warren introduces bill to cancel student loan debt for millions MORE (D-S.C.) will continue to serve as her deputies as House majority leader and majority whip respectively. 

McCarthy and Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) will continue as the top Republicans in the lower chamber, taking on the roles of House minority leader and minority whip.

This story was updated at 2:34 p.m.