California Democrat Nancy Pelosi reclaimed leadership of the House on Thursday as House Democrats overwhelmingly cast their votes for this long-serving California representative.
She earned 220 votes from a total of 430 members present, while Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leader, won 192 and 15 members of her party vote for someone else or for no one at all.
Ms Pelosi, 78, has said she wants to end the shutdown but will not support the wall. “I’m particularly proud to be a woman Speaker of the house of this Congress, which marks the 100th year of women having the right to vote,” she said.
“And, that we all have the ability and the privilege to serve with over 100 women members of Congress – the largest number in history. ”
Pelosi’s path back to House speaker wasn’t easy. Part of the reason Republicans were able to win back the House majority in 2010 was through a “Fire Pelosi” campaign that made her toxic in some Republican leaning districts, and Republicans have run on a similar playbook for every election since, including in 2018.
The victory for the newly minted speaker followed an election year where the prospect of her controlling the House became a major point of contention appearing frequently in GOP attack lines and in vows from some members of her own party to oppose her in an eventual race for speaker.
Pelosi has already shown her mettle with Trump during this shutdown. She has been resolute that Democrats won’t approve any money for Trump’s border wall, and she’s positioned Democrats to hammer the president and Senate Republicans for their refusal to take up a bill that passed the Senate unanimously weeks before.