Speed Reads

still holding on

Nancy Pelosi wins House speakership by 2 votes

Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has narrowly secured the 218-vote majority she needed to become House speaker again.

The 116th Congress convened for the first time on Thursday, and 220 members of its Democratic majority in the House voted for Pelosi as speaker. Another 192 lawmakers voted for outgoing House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), while 12 Democrats and six Republicans defected from the two main choices.

Pelosi faced challenges from Democrats who said it was time for new leadership, something that was apparent in her tiny margin of victory. Still, she was widely expected to win the speakership, and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) proudly declared "Democrats are down with N.D.P. — Nancy D'Alesandro Pelosi" when nominating Pelosi for speaker on Thursday. Several Democrats added flair to their speaker votes for Pelosi, and her grandchildren were very, very excited when they did. Pelosi also kept her victory remarks optimistic, saying "the American people ... demanded a new dawn" when electing a Democratic majority two months ago.

Pelosi was the first woman ever to serve as speaker and one of the few lawmakers who will wield the gavel more than once. The last repeat House speaker was Sam Rayburn (D-Texas), whose second turn as speaker began in 1955. With Republicans controlling the Senate and White House, this will be the first day of divided government of President Trump's tenure.