Republicans' arch-enemy Pelosi issues rallying cry as Congress prepares to fight

 

The stage was set for hard-slogging negotiations on avoiding the so-called "fiscal cliff" after Nancy Pelosi announced last night that she would run to remain minority leader in the House of Representatives, ending speculation that she might step aside.

Ms Pelosi will thus be front and centre in the talks between Congress and the White House on a package of measures that must be agreed before the end of the year to avert a series of swingeing spending cuts and tax increases from being automatically triggered. A staunch liberal, she may make an agreement harder to reach.

Achieving a pact is the top priority of President Barack Obama following his re-election last week. He has invited top congressional leaders, including the House Speaker John Boehner and Ms Pelosi, to the White House for a first effort to reach a compromise tomorrow. The automatic measures that will apply in the absence of a deal could drain $500bn (£315bn) or more from the US economy and trigger a new recession.

No one among top Democrats is likely to challenge Ms Pelosi even though last week's election saw the Republicans retain control of the House of Representatives. With some House race results still outstanding, the Democrats are likely to have eroded the Republican majority by only about seven seats.

Vilified by conservatives, Ms Pelosi, who took the helm of House Democrats 10 years ago, is the standard-bearer of the liberal wing of her party. She is likely to hold Mr Obama's feet to the fire on resisting Republican demands that any fiscal-cliff deal include steep cuts on social-programme spending.

With Ms Pelosi, 72, staying put, almost nothing changes post election at either end of Pennsylvania Avenue. While the Democrats made a modest gain in the Senate, in all other respects the status quo survives.

In the House, it will still be Ms Pelosi vs Mr Boehner. In the upper chamber, Senator Harry Reid will lead majority Democrats and Senator Mitch McConnell will stand up for minority Republicans. "We do not have the gavel, we do not have the majority, but we have unity," Ms Pelosi said, announcing her decision. She chose the role of women as the theme of her address. "We must have the further empowerment of women."

The fiscal talks might prove toughest for Mr Boehner, who is likely to face a unified front from Mr Obama and Ms Pelosi on protecting social programmes and raising tax revenue, while Tea Party members of his own party will expect him to push back.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Day In a Page

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us