Nancy Pelosi was elected to a different term as Speaker of the House in a vote, no matter how tight that reflected the smaller majority of Democrats in the next Congress.
Pelosi was elected between 216 and 208 and will serve as spokeswoman for her fourth term. She previously worked from 2007 to 2011 and returned as a speaker in 2017. Pelosi received the support of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and others on the left in the party. Two Democrats voted for other candidates: Rep. Conor Lamb (D-PA) voted for Hakeem Jeffries, the New York Democrat, and Jared Golden (D-MD) voted for Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL).
Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), minority chairman of the House of Representatives, received 209 votes.
The Covid-19 crisis overshadowed the process. Members of the House are required to wear masks when they are on the floor of the Chamber, including when making speeches. New members were only allowed to invite one guest to their swearing-in ceremony, in a ceremony that has filled the galleries in recent years. Two years ago when Pelosi returned to speak, celebrities like Tony Bennett and James Gunn showed up as their guests.
Sunday’s sluggish process was enlivened when one of the new members, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, wore a mask and was asked to put one on. An elected Congressman, Luke Letlow, died last week of complications from Covid-19. Two members of the House of Representatives recently tested positive and were in quarantine, according to GovTrack. A plexiglass case has been set up on the floor for members who may have been exposed to the virus to vote.
Jeffries, the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, named Pelosi as spokesman and named a “resilient leader” who has led the house through the coronavirus pandemic.
MEP Liz Cheney (R-WY), Chair of the House Republican Caucus, nominated McCarthy. She noted that the new Congress now “has more female members than ever before in our history” and attributed Republican gains in the recent election to it.