Friday September 17th, 2021 12:56PM

Dems nominate Pelosi as speaker again to lead into Biden era

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Democrats nominated Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday to be the speaker who guides them again next year as Joe Biden becomes president, and she quickly seemed to suggest these would be her final two years in the leadership post.

The California Democrat, the first woman to be speaker, was nominated by acclamation as the party's lawmakers used a pandemic-induced virtual meeting to pick their leaders. Pelosi already has served six years in the job, but the next two loom as her toughest.

After unexpectedly losing at least 10 incumbents in this month's elections, Democrats will have about a 222-213 majority, the tightest margin in two decades. That prospect has demoralized many Democrats and ignited blame-trading between moderates and progressives over why they flopped on Election Day.

In addition, Biden and Congress will confront an uncontrolled coronavirus pandemic, a virus-stifled economy and jagged divisions among voters who largely either idolize or detest outgoing President Donald Trump. And there's anxiety already among Democrats looking ahead to 2022 and the midterm elections, which historically are punishing for the party that controls the White House.

Against that backdrop, many House Democrats have for years impatiently insisted it's time for fresh leadership. Pelosi and her top two lieutenants, Steny Hoyer of Maryland and Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, have served in their positions together for over a dozen years and each is age 80 or older.

Pelosi called for unity when she addressed her colleagues Wednesday after winning the nomination. “The theme, I think, of what we do next has to be about justice” in the economy, health care and policing, she said, according to a transcript released by her office.

When a reporter asked Pelosi later whether the next two years would be her last as speaker, it was little surprise that she mentioned a commitment she made in 2018. Scrambling to win enough votes to become speaker, she said then that she would agree to limit her term to four more years.

“I can’t wait to be working with Joe Biden and preparing us for our transition into the future," she said Wednesday. “So I don’t want to undermine any leverage I may have, but I made the statement."

Biden's office said the president-elect called Pelosi to congratulate her selection and spoke of working together “on a shared agenda to get COVID-19 under control and build our economy back better.”

All House members will pick the speaker when the new Congress convenes in early January. Hoyer was reelected majority leader and Clyburn as the No. 3 Democratic leader on Wednesday, party posts that need no House approval. Pelosi, Hoyer and Clyburn all won without opposition.

To become speaker again, Pelosi will need more votes than House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., who’s likely to garner nearly unanimous GOP support. That means Pelosi will need roughly 218 votes to prevail and can ill afford to lose more than a sprinkling of Democratic support.

Though she's likely to succeed, it won’t be simple because when Pelosi was elected speaker in January 2019, 15 Democrats opposed her. Ten remain in Congress plus New York Rep. Anthony Brindisi, whose race remains uncalled, and New Jersey Rep. Jeff Van Drew, who became a Republican.

Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., who has opposed Pelosi before, said he is open to backing her this time, adding that he thinks "she gets it” about needing to moderate the Democrats' brand.

“Frankly, there's a time to move on," he said in an interview Wednesday. He cited Democrats' retaining House control and winning the White House and said, “Nancy knows it's smart to quit at the top of her game.”

There will also be at least 15 first-term Democrats in the freshmen next year, and it was unclear how many will support Pelosi. Hinting that she won’t try leading Democrats again in 2022 may help her nail down the votes she needs.

One favorite to succeed her is New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, 50, a four-term Brooklyn lawmaker. His skills range from consensus building to launching stinging oratorical salvos at Trump, who he this week called the “hater in chief.”

Other Democrats eager to move up in leadership ranks include Reps. Katherine Clark of Massachusetts, David Cicilline of Rhode Island and Tony Cardenas of California. Jeffries and Clark were elected to top leadership posts on Wednesday, with Clark defeating Cicilline for the No. 4 job.

“The new ideas, the freshness that comes with that is important for the American people to see,” said Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, who's unsuccessfully challenged Pelosi before but now says he's a supporter. “And so yeah, I think she does another couple of years, allows everyone else to move up, I think is a good thing.”

It's unclear whether Hoyer, a moderate, or Clyburn, Congress' highest-ranking Black lawmaker, would attempt to succeed Pelosi. Clyburn's status within the party was supercharged this year when he revived Biden’s near-comatose bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in February by helping him win the South Carolina primary.

Pelosi came to Congress in 1987 and has led House Democrats, both as the minority and majority party, ever since 2003. When Democrats recaptured the majority in 2018 and she regained the speakership, she had early clashes with far left newcomers such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., but those were subsumed as the party pulled together to oust Trump.

Pelosi has won wide acclaim among Democrats as a leading Trump foe in battles over impeachment, immigration and health care. She’s given as good as she’s gotten from the insult-prone Republican president, sometimes directly to his face, prompting him to call her “Crazy Nancy” and supporters to create memes and action figures honoring her.

Pelosi has pushed bills through the House — before they died in the GOP-run Senate — embodying Democratic priorities such as overhauling ethics and campaign finance laws, lowering health care costs and rebuilding infrastructure. She's also been a prodigious fundraiser for candidates.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News
© Copyright 2021
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Trump influence seen in deadlock of Michigan election board
President Donald Trump's efforts to sow doubt about the election seem to have played a role in a move by two Michigan Republicans to block certification of election results from Detroit
5:26PM ( 12 minutes ago )
Dems nominate Pelosi as speaker again to lead into Biden era
House Democrats have nominated Nancy Pelosi to be speaker once again, this time as the leader who guides them as Democrat Joe Biden becomes president
5:19PM ( 19 minutes ago )
US drops drug trafficking charges against ex-Mexican general
A U.S. judge has granted the Department of Justice's request to drop the drug trafficking and money laundering case against former Mexican Defense Secretary Salvador Cienfuegos and return him to Mexico
5:14PM ( 23 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Pfizer: COVID-19 shot 95% effective, seeking clearance soon
Pfizer says new test results show its coronavirus vaccine is 95% effective
4:33PM ( 1 hour ago )
New York City schools to close again as virus rate rises
New York City’s mayor says he’s shuttering schools to try to stop the renewed spread of the coronavirus
4:29PM ( 1 hour ago )
FDA allows 1st rapid virus test that gives results at home
U.S. regulators are allowing emergency use of the first rapid coronavirus test that can be done entirely at home
4:28PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
Boeing Max to fly again almost 2 years after deadly crashes
After nearly two years and a pair of deadly crashes, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration is clearing Boeing’s 737 Max for flight
3:03PM ( 2 hours ago )
Acting Pentagon chief cites risks during troop reductions
The acting defense secretary says the period of U.S. troop withdrawals from Afghanistan and Iraq in the coming weeks is “fraught with risk,” Speaking at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, Christopher C
2:50PM ( 2 hours ago )
EXPLAINER: What's with the confusion over masks?
A lot of the effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus comes down to a seemingly simple concept: Wearing a mask
2:16PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Online National News
US stocks near records as vaccine hopes, virus fears collide
U.S. stock indexes are drifting close to their record highs Wednesday, as hopes for a coronavirus vaccine coming in the future push some investors to look past the worsening pandemic in the present
12:37PM ( 5 hours ago )
People go hungry in Ethiopia's Tigray as conflict marches on
People are going hungry in Ethiopia’s rebellious northern Tigray region as roads are blocked, airports are closed and the federal government marches on its capital in a final push to win a two-week war
11:54AM ( 5 hours ago )
Trump pays $3 million for partial Wisconsin vote recount
President Donald Trump has paid $3 million for a partial recount in Wisconsin but has yet to file a petition indicating which counties it is targeting
11:13AM ( 6 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
The Latest: Biden congratulates Pelosi on speaker nomination
President-elect Joe Biden is congratulating Nancy Pelosi for her nomination to serve as House speaker for another term
5:29PM ( 14 minutes ago )
The Latest: New York City closes schools at 3% positive rate
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says the city will close schools to try to stop the spread of the coronavirus
3:27PM ( 2 hours ago )
The Latest: Biden promises to prioritize state virus funding
President-elect Joe Biden says he’s hopeful that Republicans in Congress will be more willing to send money to state and local governments after President Donald Trump leaves office
2:46PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Thousands protest violence-marred rally at Thai Parliament
Thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators have rallied in central Bangkok a day after a chaotic protest outside Parliament was marred by violence that left 55 people injured, including as many as six with gunshot wounds
9:47AM ( 7 hours ago )
UK's Labour roiled by feud over anti-Semitism and Corbyn
The leader of Britain’s main opposition Labour Party has refused to readmit ex-Labour chief Jeremy Corbyn to the party’s parliamentary ranks, accusing Corbyn of weakening efforts to stamp out anti-Semitism
9:40AM ( 8 hours ago )
Hungary sticks to veto of EU budget over rule-of-law issue
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban says the European Union’s proposed mechanism to link rule of law criteria to budget disbursements for EU nations is a “political and ideological weapon.”
9:38AM ( 8 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Trump influence seen in deadlock of Michigan election board
President Donald Trump's efforts to sow doubt about the election seem to have played a role in a move by two Michigan Republicans to block certification of election results from Detroit
5:26PM ( 19 minutes ago )
US drops drug trafficking charges against ex-Mexican general
A U.S. judge has granted the Department of Justice's request to drop the drug trafficking and money laundering case against former Mexican Defense Secretary Salvador Cienfuegos and return him to Mexico
5:14PM ( 30 minutes ago )
'Tired to the bone': Hospitals overwhelmed with virus cases
Conditions inside the nation’s hospitals are deteriorating by the day as the coronavirus rages through the country at an unrelenting pace
5:13PM ( 32 minutes ago )
Remains of 3 found in Colorado, triggering manhunt for felon
Authorities in southern Colorado say they are searching for a suspect in connection with the discovery of the remains of three people found by searchers near a rural hamlet
4:54PM ( 51 minutes ago )
The Latest: Azar expects virus vaccine 'continuity'
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar is trying to tamp down concerns the stalled transition of power to President-Elect Joe Biden will scramble the government’s efforts to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine to Americans
4:47PM ( 57 minutes ago )