House Democrats nominated Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday as the Speaker to lead them into Joe Biden’s presidency, but she’d be guiding a smaller and ideologically divided majority as she tries shepherding his agenda toward enactment.
Democrats used a voice vote to make Pelosi their choice once again, giving her the chance to serve two more years in her post. Scattered around the country, it was the party’s first virtual leadership election, a response to the coronavirus pandemic. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and No. 3 party leader Jim Clyburn were also on track to retain their positions.
Pelosi held a press conference to discuss both her re-election as well as the future of the House under the incoming Biden Administration. “I can’t wait to be working with Joe Biden and preparing us for our transition into the future,” the masked Pelosi said.
Speaker Pelosi unveils the newly-elected US House leadership team: "I'm thrilled. I'm excited, and I can't wait … to be working with a new president of the United States Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. I'm sure we all share that view." pic.twitter.com/vWTW70BTUQ
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) November 18, 2020
❤️ Nancy Pelosi re-elected as House Democratic leader https://t.co/pgXThdihpg
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) November 18, 2020
While most welcomed Pelosi’s re-election, her critics voiced concerns that she might continue to stonewall the younger progressives in the House who seek to move the party in a different direction in a post-Trump America.
Nancy Pelosi has been the House Dems’ leader for about two decades. Her retaining her Speaker role unchallenged despite suffering castrophic losses this election doesn’t send the right message, which should be that Democrats realize business as usual isn’t cutting it.
— Adam Best (@adamcbest) November 18, 2020
In 2018, Pelosi had agreed to not seek the speakership again after four years in order to squash a rebellion within her caucus and regain the speakership, while also announcing support for a three-term limit for Democratic leadership that never materialized.
“I don’t want to undermine any leverage I may have, but I made the statement,” Pelosi reiterated Wednesday, telling reporters, “Don’t let me have to be more specific than that because we never expected to have another term now. I consider this a gift.”
The full House will formally elect the new Speaker when the new Congress convenes in early January, shortly before Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration.