House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is seeking another two-year term as the head of the Democratic caucus — and she's laid out what her Day One priorities will be for the new Congress.
In a Thursday letter to Democratic colleagues in the House obtained by Politico, Pelosi congratulates all those members who won reelection or were newly elected in the last several days. But given that Democrats didn't really see the "blue wave" they were hoping for, and may have even lost a couple of seats in the House, Pelosi's tone is perhaps a bit disingenuously upbeat.
"The American people elected Democrats up and down the ballot with a resounding and remarkable mandate for progress and healing," Pelosi writes. "Working together with President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, the Democratic House will be ready on Day One to advance extraordinary change For the People."
She cites the "science-based approach" to the coronavirus pandemic and Democratic efforts to lower health care costs as being reasons they've retained power — and, she writes that the majority "must be ready to reverse the damage of a radical Republican court" after Trump and Mitch McConnell succeeded in "jamming" through the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court before the election.
Pelosi says that her priorities are to pass election reform, anti-corruption, and voting-rights legislation on the first day of the new Congress.
"Our vision for the next two years must be built on the success of Democratic House Majority in the 116th Congress," Pelosi writes. "In that spirit, I am wring to request your support to be re-elected as Speaker. I do so with utmost respect for the diverse viewpoints in our Democratic Caucus, the gravity of this role the urgency of the challenges ahead. I also do so with the great joy and appreciation to so many of you who have already offered your support."
Pelosi, at 80, handily won reelection to the Speaker's seat two years ago when the party regained control of the House. But even at the time Pelosi had pledged to only remain Speaker for two more terms, meaning this would be her final term in the job if she is elected. And at the time of her reelection after an eight-year hiatus, in January 2019, 15 Democratic House members voted against her. As Politico notes, she has fewer votes to spare now in the Democratic majority, however three of the members who voted against her lost their reelection bids.
Also, she brings with her the octogenarian team of Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), who is 80, and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), who is 81, both of whom are expected to keep their positions.
Most Democrats in the House have applauded her work through the impeachment and the rest of the dramatic last two years, though some moderate Democrats are reportedly upset that she failed to reach a deal with the Trump administration on a second stimulus package before the election.
And the loss of two House seats in South Florida has been blamed on a successful campaign by Republicans to paint Pelosi and her colleagues as socialists, in the eyes of Cuban-American voters in particular.
In contrast to some predictions that Democrats might pick up 10 or 20 seats in the House, they in fact emerged having lost a few.
All this could add up to more drama come January when it comes time for Pelosi to be reelected as Speaker, unless she successfully wheels and deals between now and then.
Top image: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) talks to reporters as House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ), listens, during her weekly news conference in the House Visitors Center at the U.S. Capitol on November 6, 2020 in Washington, DC. The 2020 presidential race between incumbent U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden is still too close to call with outstanding ballots in a number of states including Georgia. (Photo by Al Drago/Getty Images)