House elects Pelosi to second Speakership

Rep. Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiTlaib calls on Amash to join impeachment resolution 5 things to watch as Trump, Dems clash over investigations GOP lawmaker: Trump has engaged in multiple actions that 'meet the threshold for impeachment' 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 TrumpTrump calls for Republicans to be 'united' on abortion Tlaib calls on Amash to join impeachment resolution Facebook temporarily suspended conservative commentator Candace Owens MORE and his administration.

Pelosi won the Speakership in a 220-192 vote over Rep. Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyOn The Money: Treasury rejects Dem subpoena for Trump tax returns | Companies warn trade war about to hit consumers | Congress, White House to launch budget talks next week | Trump gets deal to lift steel tariffs on Mexico, Canada Congressional leaders to launch budget talks with White House RNC chair on Alabama abortion bill: I would have exceptions for rape, incest 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 CooperTop Armed Services Republican: 'I don't think anybody is satisfied' with Space Force proposal Bipartisan group asks DHS, ICE to halt deportations of Iraqi nationals Overnight Defense: Pentagon chief under investigation over Boeing ties | Trump uses visual aids to tout progress against ISIS | Pentagon, Amnesty International spar over civilian drone deaths MORE (Tenn.), Elissa SlotkinElissa SlotkinNew group aims to support female veteran Democratic candidates Michigan Dem rips DeVos for not meeting with Nassar abuse victims Dems unveil anti-workplace harassment bill MORE (Mich.) and Jeff Van DrewJeff Van DrewHouse GOP secures last-minute change to gun bill Democrat votes 'no' on Speaker before reversing course The 15 Democrats who voted against Pelosi 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 JonesEx-Greenville mayor wins Dem primary in North Carolina, GOP candidates head to runoff North Carolina reporter says there could be 'new crop' of GOP candidates in 9th Congressional District race House pays tribute to Walter Jones 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 EscobarOvernight Energy: Dems press Interior chief to embrace climate action | Lawmakers at odds on how to regulate chemicals in water | Warren releases climate plan for military Warren releases plan to tackle climate change threats to military Top Dem money man puts muscle behind Latino mobilization 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 ShermanDems say NYT report on Trump's business losses boosts need to see president's tax returns Some Dem chairmen have changed tune on Trump impeachment Dems seek to rein in calls for impeachment 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 MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe 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 Hoyer5 things to watch as Trump, Dems clash over investigations GOP lawmaker: Trump has engaged in multiple actions that 'meet the threshold for impeachment' Maxine Waters: Parts of Trump immigration plan are 'very racist' MORE (D-Md.) and Jim ClyburnJames (Jim) Enos ClyburnDems want climate change, tax hikes in infrastructure deal New Mexico Dems brace for crowded race to succeed Udall Democrats hurting themselves with handling of Ilhan Omar controversy 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.