Nancy Pelosi wins House speaker in historic Congress vote as Democrats inherit government shutdown – Trump Latest News

Nancy Pelosi wins House speaker in historic Congress vote as Democrats inherit government shutdown – Trump Latest News
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Nancy Pelosi wins House speaker in historic Congress vote as Democrats inherit government shutdown – Trump Latest News
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Nancy Pelosi wins House speaker in historic Congress vote as Democrats inherit government shutdown – Trump Latest News

Nancy Pelosi wins House speaker in historic Congress vote as Democrats inherit government shutdown – Trump Latest News

Congress has reconvened for its 116th session, with the Democrats taking majority control of the House of Representatives after their success in last November’s midterm elections.

Democratic Representative Nancy Pelosi has made history by becoming speaker of the House for a second time, the first person to do so in 50 years. She is the first woman in US history to hold the office — which is third in line from the presidency —  and on Thursday took the speaker’s gavel for the second time in her life.

Ms Pelosi, during her first speech behind the speaker’s lectern in the 116th Congress, laid out a vision to push for progressive policies to tackle climate change issues, while protecting America’s social safety net. She expressed an optimism in American democracy, while reaffirming the legislature’s obligation to serve as oversight of the executive branch of government — a clear threat to President Donald Trump, who has so far enjoyed Republican control of the entire government since taking office.

“They called upon the beauty of our Constitution: our system of checks and balances that protects our democracy, remembering that the legislative branch is Article I: the first branch of government, co-equal to the president and judiciary,” Ms Pelosi said.

She continued, describing the expectations of America for it’s elected representatives: “They want a Congress that delivers results for the people, opening up opportunity and lifting up their lives”.

The San Francisco liberal has promised her first act will be to quickly pass legislation to bring the recent government shutdown to an end without releasing funds for President Donald Trump‘s proposed Mexico border wall. The Republican-held Senate could block such a bill but doing so would see the GOP left accountable for the continued federal hiatus. The Senate had previously passed legislation to keep the government open without the level of border wall funding requested by Mr Trump, but that measure was not passed by the then-Republican controlled House.

In response to the events on Capitol Hill, Mr Trump declared a last-minute event in the White House press briefing room that included senior members of the National Border Patrol Council, a labour union representing Border Patrol agents. That labour union lobbies heavily in Washington in favour of border security measures and immigration legislation.

That even was seen as an attempt to divert attention from Ms Pelosi, and was labelled by pundits and critics as a “stunt”. That group included CNN anchor Brianna Keilar. 

Ms Pelosi could prove to be an effective opponent for Mr Trump as talks surrounding the government shutdown — which are expected to restart on Friday — continue onward. During a meeting before the shutdown itself, Ms Pelosi and her Democratic counterpart in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, managed to get the president to take responsibility for the shutdown during a televised meeting in the Oval Office. Their next meeting after that, on Wednesday, occurred behind closed doors.

But, Ms Pelosi also faces a difficult task ahead as she looks to maintain a cohesive Democratic party and avoid the fracturing that was seen after the conservative Tea Party wave washed through Washington in 2010 and let establishment and centrist Republican leaders with little room to manoeuvre in the face of hard line members of their caucus.

To maintain that cohesion, Ms Pelosi has promised to limit her speakership to four years in order to help usher in a younger generation of leadership in the party.

Ms Pelosi has also faced pressure from the party’s ascendant progressive wing, with popular candidates like New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez among those leading the push for causes like a transformative and ambitious Green New Deal programme that would eliminate the United States’ reliance on fossil fuels — but would require massive investment and political will to be made into law.

Hello and welcome to The Independent‘s live coverage as Congress reconvenes in Washington, DC.

The Democrats take control of the House of Representatives for the first time since the “blue wave” of November’s midterms saw them wrestle back control of the chamber from the Republicans.

Nancy Pelosi, 78, is poised to be elected as House speaker, the only woman who has held the office and now one of few elected officials who will be returning to it. The last time a speaker regained the gavel was more than a half-century ago. 


The California Democrat has spent her political career being underestimated, only to prove the naysayers wrong. In this case, it was by winning back the Democratic majority and amassing the votes for the speaker’s job. 


“None of us is indispensable,” Pelosi told The Associated Press on the campaign trail last autumn, “but I do know that I’m very good at what I do.” 


Pelosi remains a highly polarising figure, vilified by Republicans as a San Francisco liberal and caricature of big government.


But she is also a mother of five and grandmother of nine who has shattered glass ceilings to become one of the most powerful politicians of the 21st century.

Pelosi’s comeback depended on her promise to limit her tenure to a maximum of four years. Doing so quelled a rebellion by a stubborn faction of Democrats demanding a new generation of leaders. 


She prevailed, wielding skills she will need to manage the roughly 235 Democrats, among the 435 representatives, who will comprise the House majority in the new Congress. 


Her ascension sets up a clash with Trump. But where Trump has Twitter and status among his base as a Washington outsider, Pelosi has a network of allies inside and outside Congress – not to mention three decades in the House.

The new Congress will make history for seating a record number of women and becoming the most racially and ethnically diverse.


Representatives-elect Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, Democrats from Michigan and Minnesota respectively, are the first two Muslim women to serve in Congress.


And they’re just a few of the signs of change that spring from the 6 November elections. For the first time, two Native American women are headed to the House. Massachusetts and Connecticut will also send black women to Congress as firsts for their states, while Arizona and Tennessee are getting their first female senators.


Popular New Yorker Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will also make history as the youngest woman to take office in American history, doing so aged just 29.


In all, 127 women – 106 Democrats 21 Republicans – will serve in the 116th Congress, holding nearly 24 percent of all seats, according to the Center for Women and Politics at Rutgers University.


In the Senate, 25 women will serve, with 17 of them Democrats and eight Republicans.


The number of House seats held by Republican women will decline by 10, from 23 to 13.

Although Nancy Pelosi has pledged that her first act as speaker would be to pass a bill to reopen government – and without granting President Trump the billions of dollars he wants to bankroll his Mexican border wall – they need the president’s agreement and, so far, he isn’t budging. 


The shutdown will last “as long as it takes” to secure the funding for the wall, says Mr Trump following unsuccessful talks with congressional leaders, while Ms Pelosi asked on NBC’s Today: “How many more times can we say no?”


The Senate, still Republican-held, has the power to block the Democrats’ resolve and majority leader Mitch McConnell has called Ms Pelosi’s declaration a “political sideshow” and a “total nonstarter.”


But standing in the way of ending the shutdown would leave the Republicans vulnerable to accusations that they are as responsible for the impasse as Mr Trump, strengthening the Democrats’ hand.

Here’s today’s order of play:


Starting at noon EST (5pm GMT), there will be prayers and pledges of allegiance. 


In the 435-member House, a roll call will begin on the election of speaker. Representative Nancy Pelosi is poised to reprise her role in that post, second in line to the presidency. Once the vote is over, Republican majority leader Kevin McCarthy is expected to speak, followed by an address by Ms Pelosi. 


The longest-serving member of the House and its dean, 24-term representative Don Young (Republican-Alaska) will swear in the new speaker. The California Democrat is then expected administer the oath to House members and delegates at the same time. 


In the Senate, vice president Mike Pence will preside over the oath-taking of the 34 members who stood for election on 6 November. Republicans gained two seats in that chamber. 

Lawmakers will take this oath: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”


Representative-elect Rashida Tlaib will take the oath on a Quran, and not just anyone’s. She’ll use a 1734 English translation that belonged to Thomas Jefferson.

Nancy Pelosi has appeared on NBC’s Today show this morning and says she isn’t ruling out impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump, depending on findings by the special counsel investigating Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election. 


“We’ll have to wait and see what comes” from Robert Mueller’s probe of contacts between Mr Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia, she said. 

Here is that full interview with Nancy Pelosi:

A lot of Democrat Representatives and Senators have been looking forward to the return to Congress. There has been much cheer about the increase in women members across the two chambers.



Minnesota Representative-elect Ilhan Omar will make history when she takes the oath in the House.


She will also become the first Muslim woman to wear the hijab in Congress:

Ms Pelosi has been speaking to other media about the House of Representatives and has said Donald Trump will face a “different world” with stiffer oversight as Democrats take over the majority.

“He was used to serving with a Republican Congress, House and Senate that was a rubber stamp to him. That won’t be the case,” Ms Pelosi told USA Today. “Oversight of government by the Congress is our responsibility.”

Ms Pelsoi will become the first legislator in recent history to hold that office twice when the 116th Congress convenes around midday local time (5pm GMT).

As Congress returns, the biggest issue is ending the government shutdown – which started over Donald Trump’s demand for $5bn in funding to build a wall on the US-Mexico border. The Democrats have refused to sanction such a move, leading to the president blaming them for the stoppage.

Now Mr Trump is claiming it is all to do with the next presidential election in 2020 – which he says the Democrats “can’t win”.

In accepting the speaker’s gavel in the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi will give a nod to the new era of divided government with a pledge to “reach across the aisle in this chamber and across the divisions in this great nation,” according to excerpts of her prepared opening address. 

“The floor of this House must be America’s Town Hall: where the people will see our debates and where their voices will be heard and affect our decisions,” she will say.

Here is some more from Ms Pelosi:

Outside of the shutdown, Mr Trump is touting the progress of the tariffs he has levied against China and other nations. He has offered no evidence of the money he says the US is taking in.


Here are some statistics about how the 116th session of Congress is more diverse than the one that came before it.

Please read along for our coverage of the day’s events, as they happened

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