With the 117th Congress set to be sworn in Sunday, some Democrats are feeling "a little nervous" about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) chances of retaining the gavel, Rep. Filemon (D-Texas) told The Hill. The concern is over whether enough lawmakers will actually show up to give her the required majority of those present and voting. If they do, she's on track to win as expected.
Filemon said the worries stem from the coronavirus pandemic, and Democrats are hoping no one falls ill before the vote. Reps. Gwen Moore (D-Wisc.) and Rick Larsen (D-Wash.) tested positive for COVID-19 in late December, though Larsen is out of quarantine. And although it's unclear, it sounds as if Moore will be free from isolation as well, with Jake Sherman reporting that 221 out of the 222 Democratic members of the new House are expected to be present. Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.), who is being treated for pancreatic cancer, will not be at the Capitol.
If there are indeed 221 Democrats on hand, as well as all 211 Republicans, Pelosi could only afford to have four Democrats vote for someone else, The Hill notes. While there may be a few Democrats who don't back Pelosi, they may vote "present," which essentially renders them absent. They would not be counted against the final tally, likely allowing her to capture the majority. There's also no guarantee every Republican will be there.