Democratic California Rep. Nancy Pelosi won the election by a sizable majority Thursday to regain her position as speaker of the House.
Pelosi served as the House’s speaker from 2007 until 2011, the only woman to ever hold that position.
Her return to the speakership position makes her only the seventh individual to do so on nonconsecutive terms.
At 78 years old, Pelosi will tie former Democratic Texas Rep. Sam Rayburn as the oldest person elected to the role.
Despite ultimately running for the nomination unopposed, Pelosi faced a challenge from a small but vocal faction of Democratic representatives and representatives-elect who expressed opposition to her ascension to the leadership position.
A cohort of House Democrats began circulating a letter in mid-November in an effort to block Pelosi from winning the nod. Sixteen Democratic representatives signed the letter, citing the need for a new direction within the Democratic Party.
However, the dissenters were not able to find an adequate challenger, and ultimately various signees of the letter began taking back their opposition and supporting Pelosi.
Pelosi earned the Democratic nomination in November, winning 203 members of her caucus. Of the 239 votes cast, 32 voted in opposition, three were left blank and one member was absent for the vote.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi named a few priorities for the 116th Congress:
• lowering healthcare costs
• rebuilding America’s infrastructure
• “common sense” background checks
• ending discrimination against the LGBTQ community (Equality Act)
• protecting DREAMers pic.twitter.com/834B3kJkXm
— POLITICO (@politico) January 3, 2019
The win comes amid a partial government shutdown that has been in effect since Dec. 22. The House passed a stopgap funding bill Dec. 20 that included $5.7 billion to construct a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border; however, with a 51-seat majority in the Senate, Republicans fell short of the necessary 60 votes needed to send it to President Donald Trump’s desk for signature.
Pelosi has vehemently opposed any funding for a border wall, calling it “immoral, ineffective and expensive.”
Along with her Democratic colleagues, she reportedly put together legislation that would reopen the government but not include any appropriations for the wall.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell noted the aforementioned legislation is dead on arrival.
Pelosi will serve as the 63rd speaker of the House of Representatives.
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