Nancy Pelosi step closer to becoming next House speaker after securing caucus vote

The California Democrat reaches agreement with bipartisan group to advance her leadership nomination

Chris Riotta
New York
Wednesday 28 November 2018 21:01
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Nancy Pelosi claims 'overwhelming support' to be US Speaker of the House

Nancy Pelosi has been chosen by House Democrats to lead them in the new Congress, but she still faces a showdown vote for House speaker when lawmakers convene in January.

The California Democrat ran unopposed as the nominee for speaker in a closed-door Democratic caucus election Wednesday despite unrest from those clamouring for new leadership.

She faces tougher math in January, when she’ll need 218 votes, the majority of the full House, to be elected speaker. House Democrats are taking control with at least a 233-vote majority, but some Democrats have pledged that they won’t back Ms Pelosi for speaker. Speaking with reporters shortly after the vote, Ms Pelosi said she was in “good shape” for the full House vote in January.

She was the first woman to become speaker back when Democrats had the House majority from 2007 to 2011. It’s rare to reclaim that post after losing it.

The lawmaker appeared slated to become the next House speaker after reaching an agreement a bipartisan group whose nine Democratic members were withholding their support as they pushed for rules changes to allow a more open legislative process.

The group has been meeting with Ms Pelosi and Jim McGovern, the incoming chairman of the House Rules Committee, who also announced the agreement.

The rules changes are set to be adopted when Democrats take over the House majority as the new Congress convenes.

Meanwhile, Democrats also elected Hakeem Jeffries as their caucus chairman, elevating the 48-year-old New Yorker in the hopes that he may one day become speaker of the House.

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The race was tight, with the vote 123-113 over Rep. Barbara Lee of California, another influential member of the Black Caucus.

Ms Lee made her pitch during House Democrats’ closed session on the leadership. She drew on the record number of women, including minority women, who ran for office and are entering the new Congress.

Additional reporting by AP

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