Pelosi becomes House speaker for the second time

Pelosi becomes House speaker for the second time

News Staff

Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., was elected speaker of the House Thursday for a second time, as Democrats took control of the lower chamber.

Pelosi, 78 — who retook the speaker’s gavel after a formal floor vote that lasted about an hour— reclaimed the House’s top leadership post amid a congressional face-off with President Donald Trump over border wall funding that has left parts of the federal government shuttered for the third time in a year.

Pelosi won with 220 votes, with 12 Democrats for someone other than Pelosi and three Democrats voting present. As Pelosi cast a vote for herself, her granddaughter held her hand, jumped for joy and yelled across the chamber. A number of House Democrats wore “Madame Speaker” buttons during the vote.

The California Democrat — who previously served as House speaker from 2007 until 2011 that spanned the administrations of Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and led Democrats under the eight-year Republican majority in the House that followed — secured enough support to win the leadership post late last year, despite a brief insurrection among a small group of Democrats.

The new Democratic Caucus chairman, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., formally nominated Pelosi on the House floor to rousing applause. A number of House Democrats were spotted wearing “Madame Speaker” blue buttons.

Pelosi’s family, including her husband Paul and her children, were in the gallery, and her nine grandchildren were inside the chamber as well during the vote. Her other guests included singer Tony Bennett, Project Runway host Tim Gunn, Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart and EMILY’S List founder Ellen Malcolm and President Stephanie Schriock, among others.

Her election came as the partial government shutdown stretched into its 13th day, with no deal to end it on the horizon. The House, under the newly-elected speaker, planned to vote on Thursday on an appropriations package that end that stoppage.

That vote was scheduled to take place Thursday evening, despite the fact that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has said he will not bring up the legislation for a vote in that chamber.

Also on the new Democratic majority’s agenda: oversight. In an exclusive interview with NBC’s “Today” ahead of Thursday’s vote, Pelosi didn’t rule out the prospect of a Trump impeachment.

“We shouldn’t be impeaching for a political reason, and we shouldn’t avoid impeachment for a political reason,” she said.

Asked about the legal opinion that a sitting president cannot be indicted, Pelosi said that it was not settled law. She added that “everything indicates” a “president can be indicted after he is no longer president of the United States.”