Incoming Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi casts a vote for herself during the 116th Congress and swearing-in ceremony on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 3, 2019 in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

Nancy Pelosi regains the House speaker’s gavel as Democrats confront Trump over partial shutdown

Rep. Nancy Pelosi was elected speaker Thursday and will lead Democrats as they take over the House amid a partial government shutdown.

Already the first female House speaker in history, Pelosi now becomes the first woman to hold the job twice and the first person in nearly six decades to regain the post. Only five others have been picked as speaker more than once.

“Our nation is at an historic moment. Two months ago, the American people spoke, and demanded a new dawn,” Pelosi planned to say after accepting the gavel, according to her prepared remarks. She was referring to the midterm election that brought a divided government for the remainder of President Donald Trump’s term.

“I am particularly proud to be the woman speaker of the House of this Congress, which marks 100 years of women winning the right to vote, as we serve with more than 100 women in the House of Representatives _ the highest number in history.”

Though Pelosi faced some initial resistance to her resuming the top spot, she effectively sidelined or won over opposition. The vote was 219-192, with most Republicans voting for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.

For Pelosi, this stint will be markedly different from her first as speaker during the Obama administration. Now there is a divided government, a Republican president and an emboldened progressive wing of her own party who promised voters a new way of operating in Washington.

Pelosi will preside over the most diverse Congress ever assembled, with historic numbers of women, minorities and LGBT members being sworn in Thursday.

From the gallery, Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi, watched alongside their four children. Several of Pelosi’s nine grandchildren joined her on the House floor.

Pelosi faced a robust, but brief uprising over returning to the speaker’s chair, with more than a dozen Democrats agitating for new leadership. But no other candidate stepped forward as an alternative. Pelosi quelled the discord weeks ago by agreeing to some House rules changes and to new leadership term limits that would only permit her to serve four more years as speaker.

Thursday marked the first time that the two most powerful House leaders have represented the same state.
Elected to Congress in 1987, Pelosi rose through the ranks in the House, serving on the powerful House Intelligence and Appropriations committees, before being elected to leadership in 2001. She was speaker from 2007 until 2011 when Republicans took control of the House, and served as minority leader since.

Longtime friend and confidant Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., said Pelosi wouldn’t have sought the speaker’s chair a second time if she didn’t have confidence that she was the best person to confront Trump.

“She’s one of a kind,” Eshoo said. “We won’t see her likes again.”

-By Sarah D. Wire, Los Angeles Times

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