California Democrat Nancy Pelosi created history as she donned the tag of the only female to be elected as the Speaker twice – the third most powerful role in Washington – in the US House of Representatives.
Nancy Pelosi, the only woman to have ever served as House speaker, was re-elected to the post on Thursday as Democrats took control of the House after eight years in the minority in the house.
Democrats reclaimed power after the mid-term elections 2018 and on officially elected Nancy Pelosi to be the next speaker, returning her to a position for which she made history as the first woman elected to the office.
The California Democrat earned 220 votes from a total of 430 members present, while Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leader, won 192.
She reclaimed the gavel after the most diverse class of lawmakers were sworn in as the members of the house of representative.
“Our nation is at an historic moment,” said the 78-year-old democrat.
“Two months ago, the American people spoke, and demanded a new dawn.”
, said the newly elected speaker pointing at the outcome of the midterms.
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) January 3, 2019
Midterm elections in the United States are the general elections held near the midpoint of a President’s four-year term of office. They are usually perceived as a referendum on the sitting president’s and/or incumbent party’s performance.
2018 midterm elections
All 435 seats for the House of Representatives were contested in which Democrats gained 40 seats which ended the unified control of the Congress and the presidency by the Republican party.
As a result of the 2018 elections, the 116th Congress will be the first Congress since the 99th United States Congress in which the Democrats control the House and the Republicans control the Senate. Now, Democrats have control of a total of 235 seats, while Republicans control at least 199 seats in the house of representative.
With a big boost from female voters, Democrats won a net 40 seats in the House in November’s midterm elections. That was their biggest gain since the post-Watergate election of 1974 when Democrats picked up 49 seats.
Most diverse Congress
2019 has importance in American history as it marks 100 years for women to receive the right to vote. The Speaker during the inaugural speech highlighted the point saying that,
“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”
The midterm elections 2018 also ushered in a record number of women and racially diverse lawmakers.
As a result, in the 116th Congress, 102 women serve in the House, an all-time high, including 36 newly elected members and a record 43 women of color.
Among them are the first Muslim congresswomen – Michigan’s Rashida Tlaib and Minnesota’s Ilhan Omar – and the first Native American women to serve – New Mexico’s Debra Haaland and Kansas’ Sharice Davids, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York who became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress.
Carol Miller of West Virginia is the only new female Republican representative, bringing the total number of conservative women in the House to 13 – a decrease from 23 before the mid-term elections.
While celebrating the Democratic diversity during the swearing-in ceremonies, some on social media highlighted the contrast to the Republican members, who are mostly white men.
The Presidential candidate and a powerful Democrat Hillary Clinton also cherished the moment and tweeted.
To the women sworn in to Congress today, the most in our history: Congratulations. Knock it out of the park. pic.twitter.com/Kj7uyKFxEg
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) January 3, 2019
Democrats vs Republican
The major challenge that has now emerged is to bring harmony among the house of Representatives and the Senate which still enjoys Republican majority.
Already, House and Trump are locked in an impasse over the budget and border security that has left parts of the federal government shutdown for the past 13 days.
The partial US government shutdown began when Congress and Trump failed to reach an agreement over a budget bill in December.
In her remarks on Thursday, Nancy Pelosi promised to re-open the government “to meet the needs of the American people”.
“I pledge that this Congress will be transparent, bipartisan and unifying, that we will seek to reach across the aisle in this country, and across divisions across our nation.”
Albeit, the newly elected Speaker and her fellow House Democrats have vowed to pass spending bills to end the shutdown, but it will not include any funding for President Donald Trump’s border wall with Mexico.
However, Senate Republicans who enjoy majority should also agree on the legislation. They have said they will not pass any bills without the president’s approval, which means the deadlock may still persist.
Donald Trump congratulated Nancy Pelosi, saying: “It’s a very, very great achievement and hopefully we’re going to work together.” With high aspirations for the new Congress, Trump immediately turned attention for border fencing for which the Republicans had passed an initial funding bill including $5bn (£4bn) when they still had a majority in the House.
Mr. Trump also posted on his Instagram account a photograph of his face with the text “The Wall Is Coming,” a take on an advertisement for the cable TV series “Game of Thrones” that bore the ominous slogan “Winter Is Coming.”
In their first act after officially taking control of the House of Representatives on Thursday, Democrats tested their power in a newly divided Washington by passing legislation ending the partial government shutdown.
The two-part package included a bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security at current levels until 8 February, providing $1.3bn for border security measures, not for building a wall.
The second part funds the other federal agencies that are now unfunded, including the agriculture, interior, transportation, commerce and justice departments, until 30 September, the end of the current fiscal year.
The House bills will now go to the Senate, which remains under Republican control. They need 60 votes to advance. However, the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, has pledged not to put the legislation on the floor, describing it as “political theatre, not productive policymaking”.
The real crisis rises for President Trump as the newly elected Congress enjoying a democrat majority will ensure resistance to bills initiated by the Republicans. Owing to this, the last two years of Trump presidency will be highly tumultuous showering its effect on the United States politics and the world as well.