Nancy Pelosi really, really doesn’t think House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s plan to expunge Donald Trump’s impeachments is a good idea.
Speaking with CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union,” Pelosi repeatedly criticized the plan and even resorted to personal insults, referring to McCarthy as a Trump puppet and denouncing GOP hearings on government censorship as a “clown show.”
Reports claim that McCarthy told Trump that he would have the House vote on expunging the Democrat-led impeachments. There is no vote currently scheduled and the reports indicate he is simply trying to gauge support for the idea.
When asked about the idea, the Republican House Speaker said it would have to “go through committee like anything else.”
House Speaker McCarthy reportedly promised former President Trump that the House would expunge his impeachments before the August recess, according to new reporting https://t.co/Klavc7ISYY
Pelosi Doesn’t Want McCarthy To Expunge Trump Impeachment
In the eyes of the public, those impeachments are already expunged. An honest person can’t say that impeaching Trump for asking Ukraine to investigate corruption was a worthy and bipartisan endeavor.
Nor can anybody who understands what actually happened on January 6th think that these clowns in Congress were putting forth a serious effort in impeaching Trump over his speech.
McCarthy’s efforts, while symbolic and a definite slap in the face to Democrats, seem unnecessary. Trump was acquitted twice, incidentally, proving those impeachments to be little more than a perpetual witch hunt.
That said, Pelosi is clearly upset by the idea, meaning it’s probably a good thing for the country.
“Kevin is, you know, playing politics. It is not even clear if he constitutionally can expunge those things,” she told Bash. “If he wants to put his members on the spot, his members in difficult races on the spot, that is a decision he has to make. But this is not responsible.”
“These people are pathetic”: Nancy Pelosi just ripped Kevin McCarthy and Republicans for their proposed plan to pass a bill to ‘expunge’ Donald Trump’s impeachments. There is no such thing as ‘expunging’ an impeachment. pic.twitter.com/vjg8UJemGZ
Pelosi also took umbrage with House hearings on censorship. Censorship that interfered in the 2020 presidential election which, according to Democrats’ own comments, is a threat to democracy, an insurrection.
But because the censorship again protected President Biden, Pelosi isn’t a big fan of trying to expose it.
“What a ridiculous clown show, again, on the part of the Republicans, she said while misidentifying Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
NANCY PELOSI: “What a ridiculous clown show … what did they do? Bring in Joe Kennedy talking about censorship!
House Democrats reacted with mixed emotions this week to the historic indictment of former President Trump, with some cheering the move with bald jubilation and others approaching much more cautiously ahead of Trump’s expected arraignment on Tuesday.
While both camps are united behind the central premise that no one in America is above the law, the tonal contrast highlights both the toxic nature of Trump’s relationship with his congressional rivals and the Democrats’ deep-seeded anxiety that the indictment will only invigorate his conservative base and make him a more formidable force in the race for the White House next year.
Fueling that divide is the nature of the case being brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D), which centers around Trump’s role in providing hush payments to an adult film actress more than six years ago — a salacious saga divorced from the more serious allegations facing the former president, which relate to his role in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and efforts to overturn the 2020 election results.
On one side of the divide are Democrats who cheered Bragg’s decision with evident glee. That group is composed largely of liberal and minority lawmakers, including members of the far-left “squad,” who have long accused Trump of being a racist and are now relishing an indictment they view as karmic justice.
“Grand Jury votes to indict Trump!” tweeted Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), one of three Muslim lawmakers in Congress who has been a frequent target of Islamophobic Trump attacks.
“It’s time that we ensure Trump is banned from running for any public office again,” echoed Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.).
Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.) shared in the celebration, saying the indictment is “one of many steps” toward eliminating Trump as a threat to fair elections.
“I will always believe that this twice-impeached former president is a threat to our democracy,” he tweeted.
The celebratory mood is not being shared — at least not publicly — by a long list of other Democratic lawmakers, who are treading more carefully into the explosive debate. Those voices, which include members of Democratic leadership, have been no less critical of Trump over his political career, but are taking pains not to jump to conclusions before seeing the charges — which remain under seal — or reach a verdict before a jury does.
“This is not a moment to celebrate. This is a terrible moment for the country. But no one is above the law,” Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-Fla.) said on Twitter. “Those lock her up chants that people were chanting like hyenas in a stadium around the country were never funny, perhaps they now understand why.”
There are also lingering anxieties that Trump, the current frontrunner in the early field seeking the GOP presidential nomination, will get a boost from Bragg’s decision, as Republicans — even some of Trump’s 2024 rivals — race to defend the former president from what they consider a politically motivated witch hunt designed solely to damage his presidential prospects.
Shedding a no-holds-barred approach to Trump in the past, many Democrats have adopted a neutral tone in response to the indictment, keeping a distance from the judicial process to let the wheels of the courts grind away.
“No one is above the law, and everyone has the right to a trial to prove innocence,” Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the former Speaker who was a target of the pro-Trump mob on Jan. 6, said in a brief and subdued statement. “Hopefully, the former President will peacefully respect the system, which grants him that right.”
“In America we believe in the rule of law,” echoed Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), a fierce Trump critic. “We should wait to hear from the grand jury before jumping to conclusions.”
Rep. Jason Crow (D-Colo.), who was among the managers of Trump’s first impeachment, called it “a somber day for our nation.”
And House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) adopted the same muted tone, characterizing it as “a serious moment” for the country.
“A jury of Donald Trump’s peers will now determine his legal fate,” Jeffries tweeted.
Trump’s GOP allies, meanwhile, have rallied in his defense, characterizing the indictment — the first against any president, sitting or former — as a blatant “weaponization” of government by Democrats to take down a political rival.
“It's Trump derangement,” Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) said Thursday evening as he was leaving his Capitol Hill office. “It's an illness of hatred that just — it shouldn't be in American politics.”
Wilson said House Republicans will move “immediately” to uncover the details of Bragg's probe, and he has confidence that GOP investigators — notably Rep. Bryan Steil (R-Wis.), chairman of the Administration Committee — will demonstrate that Bragg’s prosecution has been politically motivated from the start.
“We're going to find out, from the inside, as to their correspondence and communications,” he said.
Bragg’s case revolves around a $130,000 hush payment made by Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, to the adult actress Stormy Daniels just before the 2016 election in return for her silence about an alleged affair with Trump a decade earlier — an affair Trump denies.
A Manhattan grand jury voted Thursday to indict Trump, who is expected to be arraigned in New York on Tuesday. The specific charges remain unknown, sealed until Trump’s appearance, but reports from CNN and NBC indicate he will face around 30 counts related to business fraud.
Not all of Trump’s critics cheered the arrival of the indictment this week.
Trump is also facing a series of separate criminal investigations into his conduct, including his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results and the discovery of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, his resort-residence in South Florida. And some Democrats have hoped that the Justice Department, which is investigating Trump on several fronts, would have moved more quickly on those other cases to lend more gravity to their underlying charge that Trump is unfit to serve as president for another term.
Those voices fear that Bragg’s case, by coming first, will only bolster the argument from Trump and his allies that Democrats are pursuing “frivolous” cases designed solely to damage Trump politically.
“After inciting an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, pressuring local officials to overturn the 2020 election, receiving financial kickbacks from foreign powers, and numerous other crimes during his presidency, it’s embarrassing and infuriating that the first indictment against Trump is about ... Stormy Daniels,” Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, said in a statement.
“The January 6th Select Committee and bold leaders like Jamie Raskin did their job,” he continued. “It’s time for Merrick Garland and the Justice Department to do theirs.”
Amid the emotional debate, some lawmakers are urging restraint by pointing out an obvious hole in the discussion: No one weighing in knows what charges await Trump next week.
“Just a reminder,” said Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), “that there is no rule that you have to express your opinion before reading the indictment.”
The presumption of innocence is a fundamental tenet of the justice system in the United States. At least, it was.
The phrase “innocent until proven guilty” is something every American has heard uttered throughout their lifetime. It is a legal principle that puts the burden of proof on the prosecution to prove that the accused is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
As with many fundamental norms in the justice system, Democrats eschew such basic rights when it comes to their political opponents.
Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), in responding to the indictment against Donald Trump, ripped that mask off and suggested the former President must now “prove innocence.”
“The Grand Jury has acted upon the facts and the law,” Pelosi said in a statement.
“No one is above the law, and everyone has the right to a trial to prove innocence. Hopefully, the former President will peacefully respect the system, which grants him that right.”
Read that again – Trump now has a “right to a trial to prove innocence.” That’s not how that works, you ignorant buffoon.
The Grand Jury has acted upon the facts and the law.
No one is above the law, and everyone has the right to a trial to prove innocence.
Hopefully, the former President will peacefully respect the system, which grants him that right.
Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s tweet about Trump needing to “prove innocence” in regard to the indictment was slapped with a Community Notes disclaimer by Twitter.
“Ms. Pelosi mistakenly says that Trump can prove his innocence at trial,” the added context reads. “Law in the US assumes the innocence of a defendant and the prosecution must prove guilt for a conviction.”
Twitter commentators know that basic fact. One of the most powerful Democrat lawmakers in the land? Not so much.
But where did anyone get the idea that Pelosi was “mistaken”?
This isn’t the first time prominent Democrats have struggled with the basic concept of the presumption of innocence.
Senator Cory Booker (D-Sparta), during the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, suggested he be replaced “whether he’s innocent or guilty” of fabricated sexual assault allegations.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-Golden Corral) at around the same time said Kavanaugh is “not entitled to those (due process and the presumption of innocence).”
Representative Eric Swalwell (D-Fang Fang) claimed that when the former President’s White House opted not to play the impeachment game by refusing to send documents and witnesses to mount a defense against the televised circus, this was an admission of guilt.
“We can only conclude that you’re guilty,” Swalwell stated.
“In America, innocent men do not hide and conceal evidence,” he added. “They are forthcoming and they want to cooperate and the president is acting like a very guilty person right now.”
Sounds like Democrat Rep. Eric Swalwell has decided to come out against the 5th Amendment.
The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution enshrines the concept that someone is “innocent until proven guilty.”
The clause regarding self-incrimination was designed to prevent the accused from being forced to testify against themselves, leaving the burden of proving that a person has committed a crime to the government.
And Democrats across the board want to reverse that.
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Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is ending her long leadership tenure with a historic flourish, wrapping up two decades at the top of the party with a string of major victories — political, legislative and diplomatic — that are putting a remarkable cap on a landmark era.
This week alone, House Democrats have released the tax records of former President Trump following a years-long legal battle.
They wrapped up their marathon investigation into last year’s Capitol attack, complete with criminal referrals for Trump.
And they’re poised to pass a massive, $1.7 trillion federal spending bill packed full of Democratic priorities, including legislation designed to ensure the peaceful transfer of power between presidents — a push that came in direct response to the rampage of Jan. 6, 2021.
Those were just the expected developments.
Congress on Wednesday also played host to a history-making address by Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, after his surprise visit to Washington — a stunning demonstration designed to shore up U.S. support for Kyiv amid Russia’s long-running invasion.
Any one of those items, on its own, would have been a significant triumph in a brief lame-duck session following midterm elections that will put Republicans in charge of the lower chamber next year.
The combination is something else entirely, constituting an extraordinary — and highly consequential — string of wins for Pelosi and the Democrats just weeks before she steps out of power after 20 years and passes the torch to a younger generation of party leaders.
“The 117th Congress has been one of the most consequential in recent history,” she wrote to fellow Democrats this week, taking a victory lap. She added that the lame-duck agenda has them leaving on “a strong note.”
Zelensky’s visit, in particular, carried outsize significance.
The Ukrainian president has, since the Russian invasion began in February, emerged as the global symbol of democratic defiance in the face of the violent authoritarianism of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
And having him on hand in the Capitol — itself the target of an anti-democratic mob last year — gave a big boost to the warnings from Democrats that America’s election systems and other democratic institutions are under attack, not least from Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was “stolen.”
Pelosi, who had staged a surprise trip to Ukraine earlier in the year, found a special importance in Zelensky’s visit, noting that her father, Thomas D’Alesandro Jr., was a House member in 1941 when Winston Churchill addressed Congress to urge America’s support in the fight against the tyrannical forces of Nazi Germany.
“Eighty-one years later this week, it is particularly poignant for me to be present when another heroic leader addresses the Congress in a time of war – and with Democracy itself on the line,” Pelosi said in announcing Zelensky’s visit this week.
Zelensky’s presence also gave a boost to the Biden administration’s efforts to provide Ukraine with assistance — military, economic and humanitarian — in the face of opposition from conservatives on Capitol Hill who want to cut off the spigot of U.S. aid when Republicans take over the House next year.
Hours before Zelensky’s speech, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), a conservative firebrand, said U.S. taxpayers are being “raped” by lawmakers who provide billions of dollars in foreign aid.
“Of course the shadow president has to come to Congress and explain why he needs billions of American’s taxpayer dollars for the 51st state, Ukraine,” she tweeted, referring to Zelensky. “This is absurd. Put America First!!!”
Democrats, joined by many Republicans, have countered with promises to continue providing Kyiv with the support it needs to win the conflict. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Wednesday that it’s meaningless to praise the Ukrainians' courage without backing those words with funding.
“Some of you asked me, ‘Well, how much would we do?’ And my response has been, ‘As much as we need to do.’ That's my limit,” Hoyer told reporters. “This is a fight for freedom — [a] fight for a world order of law and justice.”
The issue of Ukraine aid could prove to be a headache for Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who’s vying to become Speaker next year and needs the support of conservatives — including those opposed to more Kyiv funding — to achieve that goal.
Despite the hurdles, Pelosi said she’s confident that Congress will come together to support Kyiv next year, even with a GOP-controlled House.
“I think there's very strong bipartisan support respecting the courage of the people of Ukraine to fight for their democracy,” she told reporters earlier in the month.
Pelosi, of course, had solidified her place in the country’s history books long before this Congress — when Democrats adopted massive bills to fund infrastructure, battle COVID-19 and tackle climate change — and the lame-duck session, when that list of policy wins is growing longer still.
As a back-bencher in 1991, Pelosi had visited Tiananmen Square, launching her image as a pro-democracy activist, both in Congress and on the world stage. And her profile rose again in 2002, with her firm opposition to the Iraq War.
Years later, in 2007, she became the first female Speaker in U.S. history, a feat she repeated again in 2019. She was Speaker during the Great Recession; ushered in the Dodd-Frank law designed to curb the worst abuses of Wall Street; and battled Trump head-on, launching two impeachments of the 45th president and creating the special committee to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
That panel reached the end of its investigation this week, issuing a summary of its findings on Monday that included recommendations that the Justice Department further investigate Trump for four separate federal crimes, including inciting an insurrection. The final report is expected to be released on Thursday.
“Our Founders made clear that, in the United States of America, no one is above the law,” Pelosi said in response. “This bedrock principle remains unequivocally true, and justice must be done.”
Perhaps recognizing that her leadership days were numbered, Pelosi also went out of her way this year to boost her legacy by visiting some particularly volatile spots around the globe. That list included Ukraine, amid the war with Russia; Taiwan, in the face of retaliatory threats from China; and most recently Armenia, where she took clear sides in a long-standing conflict with Azerbaijan.
Yet in Pelosi’s own view, her legacy will be defined by a law she helped to enact long before Russia invaded Ukraine or Trump entered the political stage: The Affordable Care Act, or ObamaCare, is how she wants to be remembered.
“Nothing in any of the years that I was there compares to the Affordable Care Act, expanding health care to tens of millions more Americans,” she told reporters last week. “That for me was the highlight.”
Former Republican House Speaker John Boehner struggled – unsuccessfully – to fight back his famous, frequently-appearing tears as he offered a glowing tribute to Nancy Pelosi at the unveiling of her official portrait at the Capitol.
But the praise didn’t just come from his daughters, it came from Boehner himself.
“The younger generation today has a saying: ‘Game recognizes game,'” he praised. “The fact of the matter is no other speaker of the House in the modern era — Republican or Democrat — has wielded the gavel with such authority or with such consistent results.”
The clearly emotional and flustered Boehner’s comments were littered with mispronunciations and pauses as he tried to stop the urge to continue weeping.
Pelosi’s tenure has been one of the most divisive and destructive efforts in the “modern era” and Boehner can only think to call her “incredibly effective” and “one tough cookie”?
That tough cookie has been crying and lying about an ‘insurrection’ on January 6th. She tore the nation apart and helped take focus off the incoming pandemic by pursuing an impeachment she once described as the “most divisive” path.
She has consistently caved to the fringe element of her party ever since the Squad was ushered in during the 2018 midterms. Pelosi forced the passage of Obamacare despite its unpopularity, famously saying, “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”
Democrats lost 63 House seats later that year. It was the worst shellacking since 1938. Very, very effective, John.
John Boehner crying as he paid tribute to Nancy Pelosi is the perfect symbol of uniparty pathology
Boehner wasn’t the only Republican in attendance at the unveiling of Pelosi’s comically over-sized Capitol portrait.
The New York Times reports that Kevin McCarthy, widely presumed to replace Pelosi as Speaker of the House, “sat silently” during the proceedings.
A generation of congressional leaders fought back tears on Wednesday as they unveiled the official portrait of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) at a ceremony with a tribute from former president Barack Obama. https://t.co/K7c9YmBulFpic.twitter.com/uBtHO52vZK
John Boehner crying isn’t exactly new, but it’s an important reminder of the feckless leadership that allowed people like Pelosi and Barack Obama to run roughshod over the Constitution during their tenure.
Pelosi joked about the former Speaker being famously teary-eyed on a perpetual basis.
“I would have been a little disappointed if he didn’t get emotional,” she quipped.
Seriously, try to imagine Nancy Pelosi crying over a John Boehner portrait while announcing to chuckles that her kids are Republicans. You can’t. That’s because many of those elected to represent conservatism can’t even do so in house.
And while he’s heaping praise on Nancy Pelosi, Boehner hasn’t always had the kindest words for staunch conservatives like Fox News host Sean Hannity, Senator Ted Cruz, or former President Donald Trump.
In a 2017 profile at Politico Boehner called Hannity “nuts” and said Americans were “ill-informed.”
He’s had a long-standing feud with Cruz (R-TX), going off-script in recording his memoir saying, “Oh, and Ted Cruz, go f*** yourself.”
Cruz reacting to Boehner telling him to “go fuck himself” in his audiobook…
“John Boehner suggested I do something anatomically impossible, to which my response was: Who’s John Boehner?”
All eyes are on House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) as he negotiates a fragile path to the Speakership next year in the face of opposition from a handful of conservatives within his own conference.
The Republicans flipped control of the House in last month’s midterms, but their razor-thin majority has empowered the far-right firebrands who are vowing to block McCarthy’s Speakership bid — and are resisting all entreaties to alter course for the sake of party unity.
The entrenched opposition has raised the specter that McCarthy simply won’t have the support he needs to win the gavel when the House gathers on Jan. 3 to choose the next Speaker.
And it’s sparked a number of predictions — some of them more far-fetched than others — about how the day might evolve and who might emerge as the next Speaker if McCarthy falls short.
Here are seven scenarios being floated heading into the vote, ranked from least to most likely:
A Democrat squeaks in
It’s theoretically possible that discord within the GOP could lead to a Democratic Speaker.
Such a result is very, very unlikely because Republicans will have the majority in the vote and do not want this to happen.
But it is possible — if chaos on the floor prompted frustrated GOP moderates to back a centrist Democrat — that a member of the minority could be elected Speaker.
In fact, it’s one of the warnings that McCarthy and his allies have sounded in recent weeks as they seek to break the logjam of opposition and win him the gavel.
“If we don’t do this right, the Democrats can take the majority. If we play games on the floor, the Democrats can end up picking who the Speaker is,” McCarthy said in a November Newsmax interview after he won the House GOP nomination for Speaker 188 to 31 over Rep. Andy Biggs (Ariz.).
The warning, however, is more threat than prospect, as Republicans would never back a Democrat for Speaker after four years in the minority wilderness under Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). And even McCarthy has seemed to acknowledge that implausibility, by shifting his argument elsewhere in the weeks since.
House elects a Speaker who is not a member of Congress
House rules do not technically require that the Speaker is a sitting, elected member of House — though every Speaker in U.S. history has been. That leaves open the possibility of members looking for a McCarthy alternative elsewhere.
When conservative House Republicans aimed to mount a challenge to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) in 2014, they tried to recruit Ben Carson, who later went on to be Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), a Pelosi detractor, made a habit of voting for former Secretary of State Colin Powell.
Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), a supporter of McCarthy, told The Hill last week that there is no other member of the House Republican Conference who can get the support needed to be Speaker. And Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), a liberal who’s been open to supporting a moderate “unity” candidate as a last resort, has said it does “not necessarily” have to be a sitting member.
A moderate Republican wins with backing of some Republicans and Democrats
That is a top worry of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), who has emerged as one of the most vocal supporters of McCarthy for Speaker.
Greene, who got a seat at the table from McCarthy rather than being made an outcast in the GOP conference, has repeatedly warned that moderate Republicans could flip to work with Democrats and support someone who is not as conservative as McCarthy — and less accommodating.
But Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.), who has said he’s talked to Democratic members about the possibility of backing an alternative candidate, has said he will only consider such a drastic measure if McCarthy drops out of the race for Speaker after repeated failed votes.
Other lawmakers are skeptical of the chances for a bipartisan consensus candidate, saying it would be political suicide, particularly for Republicans.
“Let’s just say 20 of them joined with us to nominate somebody like Don Bacon, or bring Fred Upton back, or whatever,” said Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.). “Those 20 will be not quite as bad as if they voted for [former President Trump’s] impeachment, but moving in that direction. I just think that they’ll get beat to death."
McCarthy drops out of Speakership race to make way for consensus pick
The first time McCarthy sought the Speaker’s gavel was in 2015, to replace the retiring Boehner. That effort ended before the process ever reached the floor.
Faced with conservative opposition, McCarthy stunned Washington by dropping out of the race at the last moment, leaving Republicans scrambling for a viable candidate, who ultimately emerged in the form of Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.).
The difference this year is that there is no obvious figure who can easily win the support of both far-right conservatives who want to alter fundamentally how the House functions and the moderates ready to get on with the process of governing.
Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), McCarthy’s top deputy, has been floated as a possible alternative.
But there’s no indication the conservatives would support anyone who didn’t accept the same demands they’re making of McCarthy, including a controversial rule change making it easier to oust a sitting Speaker — a change that would empower the right wing even further.
While Biggs continues his protest challenge to McCarthy, he has teased that there are other Republicans who have privately expressed interest in being an alternative if it becomes clear McCarthy cannot win the gavel.
But Biggs and his allies won’t name names, fearing doing so would put a target on their back.
House agrees to make McCarthy Speaker with a plurality of votes
If the House Speakership election drags on for multiple votes with McCarthy in the lead but not securing enough votes for a majority, the House could agree to adopt a resolution to declare that a Speaker can be elected by a plurality rather than by a majority.
That would require cooperation from Democrats, and it is not clear whether they would support such a resolution.
The first time was in 1849, after the House had been in session for 19 days and held 59 ballots for Speaker. It happened again in 1856, when the House had taken 129 Speaker votes without any candidate winning a majority.
With so much uncertainty, some lawmakers are already bracing for a long day on Jan. 3.
“I’m obviously observing it from the other side, but all the intel I get from my Republican friends is that: expect it to go late,” said Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.). “And I plan to wear my comfortable suit.”
Rep. Matt Gaetz (Fla.), a top “Never Kevin” Republican, floated that the Speaker election could take months — rivaling the longest-ever Speaker election in 1855, which took two months and 133 ballots.
“We may see the cherry blossoms before we have a Speaker,” Gaetz said, referring to the blooms that emerge in March or April in Washington, D.C.
McCarthy elected Speaker because of Democratic absences
A Speaker is elected by a majority of all of those present and voting, meaning that McCarthy does not necessarily need 218 votes to win the Speakership. If some members are absent or vote “present,” it lowers the threshold from 218.
Pelosi won the Speakership in 2021 with 216 votes due to vacancies and absences. And Boehner also won the Speakership with just 216 votes in 2015, when 25 members did not vote. Many Democrats were attending a funeral for the late New York Gov. Mario Cuomo (D) that day.
If the Speakership election drags on and Democrats tire of the repeated ballots, it is possible that Democratic members miss subsequent votes, which could lower the majority threshold just enough for McCarthy to squeak out a victory.
Illness, weather or other unforeseen circumstances could also affect member attendance on Jan. 3. And because Republicans are planning to eliminate the proxy voting installed by Democrats during the pandemic, lawmakers would not have the option of voting remotely for Speaker.
In the closely divided House, with 222 Republicans to 212 Democrats and one vacancy, McCarthy needs 218 votes if every member votes for a Speaker candidate.
McCarthy wins an outright majority of votes
Many Republicans supportive of McCarthy are optimistic that he will ultimately win a majority of votes without having to worry about Democrats.
Some members think that McCarthy may even be able to strike a deal with his detractors and win on the first ballot. Others think that once the McCarthy detractors make their point with at least one failed ballot, they might switch votes to allow him the gavel.
Rep. Blake Moore (R-Utah) compared McCarthy’s situation to that of Pelosi after the 2018 election, when she started off with enough opponents to deny her the Speakership but made enough agreements to earn majority support from Democrats.
“It is not any different. Like, they have a month the jockey and people vote against Pelosi, and ultimately they all get to the point they need to get to. I'm confident we'll do the same,” Moore said. “If I'm blindsided and we're doing 700 rounds and we're here till July, you can come back to me and say, ‘You were wrong.’”
McCarthy said on Fox News on Wednesday that he will have the votes to become Speaker either on Jan. 3 or before then.
“It could be somebody else, but whoever the somebody else is, everyone has a similar problem [with conservatives],” said Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.). “Which makes me believe that ultimately he’ll probably pull it together.”
House Republicans will take the reins of the lower chamber in fewer than six weeks, returning to power after four years in the minority wilderness to usher in a new era of divided government heading into the 2024 presidential election.
The shift comes after two years when President Biden enjoyed Democratic control of the House and the Senate. And it will have drastic implications for the workings of Washington, setting the stage for countless clashes between the House and the administration over everything from government spending and border security to the fight against inflation and the future of Medicare and Social Security.
Republicans are also promising to focus much of their energy on investigations, including the administration’s handling of the southern border, charges of political bias at the Justice Department, and the business dealings of Biden’s son Hunter.
Here are five things to watch as the House is poised to change hands.
McCarthy will struggle with narrow majority
Republicans charged into this month’s midterms with wide eyes for big gains — Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) had predicted a 60-seat flip — that would afford them a comfortable cushion for pushing legislation through the lower chamber next year.
Instead, they squeaked out a victory, and their underperformance leaves them a slim majority — just a handful of seats — and little room for error as they bring bills to the floor.
Those dynamics play to the great advantage of the far-right Freedom Caucus, the home of McCarthy’s loudest internal detractors, where members are already angling to secure a number of conservative priorities — including a balanced budget amendment and an end to U.S. funding for Ukraine — that party leaders have been reluctant to endorse.
If Republicans had scored a larger majority, GOP leaders would have been insulated from those demands. As it stands, McCarthy might be forced to consider them, even if it puts more moderate Republicans — and the GOP’s fragile majority — in danger in 2024.
“He had predicted — what? — 60 seats? If you don’t perform the way you told people, people question it. They didn’t get exactly what they wanted,” said a former leadership aide. “A tight margin makes it very difficult.”
McCarthy is also likely to face conservative pressure in the coming battles to fund the government and lift the debt ceiling — the same debates that had fueled the Tea Party movement more than a decade ago and have created headaches for GOP leaders ever since.
“When you look at John Boehner and Paul Ryan, two previous Speakers, they got out. They got out early because they could not deal with their right-wing extremists,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told CNN on Tuesday. “I think McCarthy's going to find the same problem.”
Winning the Speaker’s gavel
The Republicans’ slim House advantage poses another even more immediate problem for McCarthy heading into the new Congress: Whether he’ll have enough GOP support to win the Speaker’s gavel.
McCarthy easily won the Republican nomination for the post earlier this month, 188 to 31. But he needs to surpass a much higher bar — a majority of the full House — when the chamber meets on Jan. 3 to choose the next Speaker. With Republicans on track to have 222 House seats, at most, McCarthy can have far fewer than 31 defectors.
Helping him along, McCarthy has secured support from several prominent Freedom Caucus members — including Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) — as well as former President Trump.
But other conservatives are vowing to oppose him, including Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) and Ralph Norman (R-S.C.), who all say they’re firm nos. Reps. Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.) and Bob Good (R-Va.) are also voicing their resistance. Some are warning that they’re just the tip of the opposition iceberg.
McCarthy, whose Speakership bid was blocked by conservatives in 2015, is the first to acknowledge the internal challenge he’s facing.
“Look, we have our work cut out for us,” he told reporters just after winning the GOP nomination. “We’ve got to have a small majority. We’ve got to listen to everybody in our conference.”
Democrats are watching from the sidelines, wary that whatever promises McCarthy might make to win over the conservatives will make the lower chamber ungovernable.
“It's one thing if you have a large majority, and you can sort of say, ‘Well, I can afford to ignore the crazies like Marjorie Taylor Greene,’” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) told MSNBC on Monday. “It's another if you have just a handful that are keeping you in the speaker's chair, and they're crazy.”
Change has come for Democrats
If the GOP leadership structure remains largely unchanged next year, the same will not be true across the aisle.
House Democrats will undergo a massive makeover in the next Congress after Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and her top two deputies — Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (Md.) and Jim Clyburn (S.C.) — stepped out of the top three leadership spots after almost two decades together.
The abdications opened the floodgates for a new generation of up-and-coming Democrats to seize the reins of the party. And a trio of younger leaders — Reps. Hakeem Jeffries (N.Y.), Katherine Clark (Mass.) and Pete Aguilar (Calif.) — wasted no time stepping into the void as candidates for the top three positions, respectively.
All three are running unopposed, and are expected to win their seats easily when House Democrats stage their leadership elections next week.
For Jeffries, ascending to the minority leader spot would be historic, making him the first Black lawmaker to lead either party, in either chamber, since the nation’s founding. It would also limit the Democrats’ regional diversity, putting a New York City lawmaker in charge of the party in both the House and the Senate, where Chuck Schumer is expected to return next year as majority leader.
The shakeup — Pelosi’s departure in particular — has raised questions about the strategic changes to come in both parties.
For Democrats, that means determining what role Pelosi and Hoyer — who are both staying in Congress — will play as rank-and-file members. It also means deciding whether to designate more power to rank-and-file members and the committee heads after decades when much of the authority was consolidated with Pelosi. And they’ll have their work cut out in trying to recreate the fundraising role Pelosi has played over the last two decades.
For Republicans, who have spent years and millions of dollars demonizing Pelosi, it means finding another Democratic foil to use on the campaign trail.
Meanwhile, the would-be relationship between the House’s likely top leaders, McCarthy and Jeffries, is off to a rough start.
Jeffries, as head of the Democratic Caucus, has attacked McCarthy relentlessly since the Republican leader cozied up to Trump in the weeks after last year’s rampage at the Capitol, calling him “embarrassing” and “pathetic.” And the two have not spoken in some time.
Last week, Jeffries acknowledged the absence of any real connection.
“I do have, I think, a much warmer relationship with Steve Scalise,” he said on CNN’s “Meet the Press.”
Impeachment is already on the table
For months, House conservatives have pressed the case for impeaching Biden and members of his cabinet if the House were to change hands — a warning to both the administration and any GOP leaders who might be reluctant to take that step.
On Tuesday, McCarthy threw those Republicans a bone, saying he would consider impeaching Alejandro Mayorkas next year if the Homeland Security secretary refused to resign beforehand. Republicans have long been critical of Mayorkas’s handling of the migrant crisis at the southern border, and Republicans in this Congress have already introduced resolutions to remove him.
“If Secretary Mayorkas does not resign, House Republicans will investigate, every order, every action and every failure will determine whether we can begin impeachment inquiry,” McCarthy told reporters in El Paso, Texas.
The announcement is sure to appease the GOP’s conservative wing, which is where McCarthy needs more support to win the Speaker’s gavel. But whether he follows through on the threat next year remains to be seen.
Republicans were hurt politically following their impeachment of President Clinton in 1998, and many in the GOP — including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) — have warned against making the same mistake next year.
Yet there are also perils for McCarthy if he ignores the impeachment demands: It could spark an outcry from a GOP base — much of which is still loyal to Trump — that’s keen to avenge the two impeachments that targeted the former president. And conservatives will be watching closely, ready to lash out at GOP leaders deemed insufficiently aggressive in taking on the Biden White House.
McCarthy seems to be keeping his options open, promising only that Republicans will investigate Mayorkas and see where it leads.
“This investigation could lead to an impeachment inquiry,” he said in El Paso.
Other fights to watch
With Republicans taking over the House, most of Biden’s ambitious domestic agenda is likely to come to a screeching halt. But that doesn’t mean the end of high-stakes legislating.
Congress next year will still — at a minimum — have to fund the federal government in order to prevent a shutdown, and raise Washington’s borrowing limit to stave off a government default.
Both debates are expected to squeeze House GOP leaders between the more moderate forces of the Senate — where McConnell will have to sign off on any fiscal deals — and the conservative firebrands of the lower chamber who say they’re ready to risk shutdowns and defaults to rein in government spending and realize other pieces of their legislative wishlist.
Part of that debate could feature a balanced budget amendment, which was the reason Ralph Norman said he’s opposing McCarthy’s Speakership bid. There’s also likely to be a push from the right to cut the big entitlement programs — Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security — which are on autopilot and represent a huge chunk of the federal budget.
Must-pass government spending bills would also provide ready opportunity for House Republicans to attach other priority items, including provisions to build a border wall, expand domestic oil drilling and roll back environmental regulations.
A Democratic-led Senate would balk at such provisions — and Biden would likely veto any such bill that got that far — but the GOP-led House could force the issue.
Funding for Ukraine will get outsized attention next year. Under Democratic control — and with broad bipartisan support — Congress has approved tens-of-billions of dollars to help Kyiv weather the Russian assault. But a number of conservatives are vowing to oppose any new funding, saying that’s money better spent fixing problems at home.
Some Democrats are already voicing their concerns.
“It's not hard to figure out that with a tiny, tiny majority — you know, Matt Gaetz and Paul Gosar and Marjorie Taylor Greene together in a room control the fate of Kevin McCarthy,” Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.) told MSNBC on Tuesday. “And so the question is sort of, how much does he feed them?"
Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Colo.) launched a bid on Monday to lead the Democrats’ messaging arm in the next Congress, ending his pursuit of the caucus chairmanship and clearing the way for Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.) to fill that spot next year.
Neguse, who is currently one of four co-chairs of the House Democratic Policy and Communications Committee (DPCC), is seeking to become the lone chairman of that panel next year — a new position the party is expected to create as part of the internal rules changes governing the 118th Congress.
The position was not his first choice.
Neguse, whose star rose last year when he was named to the team leading the second impeachment of then-President Trump, had initially sought to replace Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (N.Y.) as head of the House Democratic Caucus, announcing his candidacy for that spot shortly after the Nov. 8 midterms. At that time, it was well known that Aguilar was eyeing the No. 3 assistant leader position, behind Jeffries and Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), if there was a post-election shake-up at the highest tiers of the party — a shake-up that materialized last week when Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) announced they were stepping out of leadership after two decades.
But Neguse’s plan hit a wall when Rep. Jim Clyburn (S.C.), the Democratic whip, announced his intent to remain in leadership, launching a bid for the assistant leader spot. That surprise move led Aguilar to pursue the caucus chairman position — and forced Neguse to seek the DPCC seat.
The reshuffling of candidates was accompanied by an imminent restructuring of the party brass. The last time the Democrats were in the minority, the assistant leader was the No. 3 spot, and caucus chair was No. 4. Under the new order next year, those rankings will be flipped.
Pelosi all but solidified next year’s leadership team when she endorsed Jeffries, Clark and Aguilar for the top three spots. Neguse’s decision to seek the DPCC chair, and not challenge Aguilar for caucus chair, means that all of the top three candidates are so far running unopposed.
In a letter sent Monday to fellow Democrats, Neguse, 38, a four-term veteran and member of the Congressional Black Caucus, said he’ll bring his experience representing a sprawling district outside Denver to help the party better convey its message to voters.
“As a son of immigrants, the first Black Congressperson elected by the State of Colorado, and as someone who represents a large rural and suburban district, with agricultural communities extending all the way to the Wyoming border, I’ve long worked hard to effectively communicate to a broad constituency,” he wrote.
"I’ve adopted that same approach as a member of House Leadership,” he continued, “ensuring that voices from across our caucus and the ideological spectrum are elevated and included in our legislative agenda and messaging."
The Democrats’ leadership elections are scheduled for next week, when Congress returns to Washington from the Thanksgiving holiday.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) announcement Thursday that she will not seek a leadership position for the House Democratic Caucus next session will end her 20-year tenure as the top Democrat in the body.
Pelosi has been elemental in many key moments since she took over as House Democrats’ leader in 2003 and as House Speaker in 2007, serving multiple terms as minority leader and Speaker.
She helped orchestrate landmark legislative accomplishments during the Obama and Biden administrations while working to hold her party, composed of moderate and progressive wings, together.
She was also a trailblazer in her own right, becoming the first woman to hold several different congressional leadership positions, including whip, minority leader and Speaker.
Here are a few of Pelosi’s most memorable moments as Speaker:
Becoming first female Speaker of the House
Pelosi made history through several leadership positions she held in Congress. She was elected to her first leadership position in 2001 as House minority whip, the first woman to hold the role. She narrowly defeated Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) for the job.
Hoyer would eventually serve as House majority leader and work closely with Pelosi in Democratic leadership.
Pelosi succeeded Rep. Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.) as House minority leader in 2002 after Gephardt declined to run again to prepare for a run for the presidency in 2004. She also became the first woman in that role.
Pelosi was an easy choice for Democrats as House Speaker after they won back a majority in the House in the 2006 midterm elections. She was chosen unanimously, becoming the first woman and the first Italian American to serve as Speaker in 2007.
Almost exactly 16 years after the party chose her to become Speaker, she announced her decision not to run for another term in House leadership.
Pelosi served as Speaker from 2007 to 2011 and took on the post again in 2019. She became the first person to serve nonconsecutive terms as House Speaker since Sam Rayburn (D-Texas) in the 1950s.
Calling on Bush to reject plan to escalate Iraq involvement
Pelosi was an early opponent of the Iraq War, splitting from much of her own party in voting against the resolution that gave the Bush administration authorization to use military force in the country in 2002.
She said in her statement announcing her decision on the vote that she was not convinced that all diplomatic remedies had been exhausted and had not seen evidence that Iraq posed an imminent threat to the United States.
She continued her opposition to the war once she became Speaker in 2007. When the Bush administration announced its plan for a surge in the number of troops present in Iraq, she and then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) condemned the plan.
They said the increase would delay the ability of the Iraqi government to “take control of their own future” after the removal of Saddam Hussein from power and that adding more combat troops would not contribute to success.
They called for a shifting in the U.S. mission from combat to training, logistics, force protection and counterterrorism efforts, which President Obama eventually oversaw after he became president in 2009.
Still, Pelosi refused to cut off funding for the military operation in Iraq, saying that she would not end financial support while U.S. soldiers remained in harm’s way. She emphasized increased congressional oversight of how funds were being used, trying to strike a balance between more liberal and moderate members of the caucus.
Passing the Affordable Care Act
The Affordable Care Act was one of the most significant legislative achievements of President Obama’s administration and Pelosi was a central figure in the legislation getting passed.
Numerous Democratic presidents going back to Franklin Roosevelt had proposed or advocated for some form of universal health care, but they either failed to get it passed or focused on other initiatives.
Democrats made large gains in both houses of Congress, but they were one seat short of the 60-vote threshold needed to overcome a Republican filibuster. Obama wanted to achieve a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s health care system, but his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, advised Obama to scale back his plans and try for a much smaller bill.
Pelosi rejected the idea, calling the smaller-plan idea “kiddie care.”
She became an architect of the final bill that ultimately passed, working to make the necessary changes to get the bill the support it needed. One change included the removal of federal funding for abortion, which Pelosi struggled with but deemed necessary to get Democrats who opposed abortion to support the bill.
After various agreements were reached, Congress passed the act and Obama signed it into law. The president called Pelosi “one of the best Speakers” the House has ever had before he signed it.
Announcing the first impeachment inquiry into President Trump
Relations between Trump and congressional Democrats, in part led by Pelosi, reached their most contentious point at the time after the House voted to impeach him in December 2019.
Controversy swelled after reports indicated Trump had a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in July of that year in which he pressured Zelensky to launch an investigation into President Biden, then a candidate for the presidency in 2020, and his son, Hunter.
Pelosi initiated a formal impeachment inquiry into Trump in September following a whistleblower’s complaint against Trump, leading to his impeachment. Pelosi oversaw the process, in which all but three Democrats voted to impeach him for abuse of power and all but four voted to impeach him for obstruction of Congress.
All Republicans voted against the two articles, while former Rep. Justin Amash (Mich.), who left the Republican Party and became an independent, voted for them. Trump became the third president to be impeached.
“The actions of the Trump presidency have revealed the dishonorable fact of the president’s betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security and betrayal of the integrity of our elections,” Pelosi said in a statement after announcing the inquiry.
Tearing up Trump’s State of the Union address
Trump’s 2020 State of the Union address came at a tense moment, one day before the Senate was set to take its vote on the impeachment charges against him.
Trump appeared to ignore Pelosi after she reached out for a handshake before he began his speech. This was the first time the two of them had been in the same room since Pelosi walked out of a meeting with him in the White House the previous October. Trump called her a “third-rate” politician after the meeting.
Pelosi often shook her head as Trump made reference to policies like health care and Social Security, but she received the most attention for tearing up a copy of his speech in half at the conclusion of it.
“It was the courteous thing to do considering the alternatives,” Pelosi told reporters after.
Trump did not mention impeachment during his address, instead emphasizing his administration’s policies.
Pelosi reportedly later called the speech a “manifesto of mistruths.”
A video of Pelosi clapping at Trump during his 2019 State of the Union as he spoke about an end to "revenge politics" also went viral, giving Pelosi much attention online.
Responding to the chaos on Jan. 6
The position of House Speaker is not constitutionally responsible for the certification of the Electoral College results — that duty falls to the vice president. But Pelosi was deeply involved in responding to the events of the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, when rioters hoping to stop the certification stormed the Capitol.
After the rioters entered the Capitol, Congress paused its session to certify the votes, and Pelosi and other congressional leaders were taken to Fort McNair for safety while law enforcement tried to take control of the situation.
Video clips released by the House select committee investigating the attack showed Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) vigorously making urgent phone calls to multiple state and federal officials to send help.
Pelosi, then-Vice President Mike Pence and other leaders also discussed the idea of continuing the certification process at Fort McNair.
Pelosi repeatedly emphasized throughout the day that regardless of the rioters, the certification process must continue.
“If they stop the proceedings, we will have totally failed,” she said.
Announcing her plans to step down as speaker
Speculation built up in the months leading up to the midterm elections this year as to whether Pelosi would continue to serve as Speaker, following through on her previous promise from 2018 to step down after four more years in the role.
Pelosi largely stayed quiet about her plans and deflected questions before the election. She said the recent attack on her husband, Paul, would affect her plans but would not say how so.
Following the party’s better-than-expected performance in the midterms, causing the GOP to likely only win a narrow majority in the body, some Democrats indicated that Pelosi was in a strong position to decide for herself what to do and that she could continue to lead the caucus if she wished.
Pelosi ultimately announced during remarks on the House floor that she would not seek another term in leadership but would stay in her House seat representing her district, saying that “there is no greater official honor for me than to stand on this Floor and to speak for the people of San Francisco.”
Pelosi has been one of the longest-tenured House Speakers in the body’s history and will likely take on a mentorship role for the next generation of Democratic leaders.
After almost two decades leading the House Democratic Caucus, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced Thursday that she will step down from her leadership role in the next congressional session.
Pelosi became the leader of the caucus in 2003 and became the first female speaker of the House in 2007. She has had two separate stints as House speaker and minority leader but has consistently been a face of the Democratic Party for a generation.
Pelosi has overseen the passage of many major pieces of legislation during her tenure and was often key to the legislative successes of the Obama and Biden administrations. She also made history on multiple occasions, becoming the first woman to serve in several of the positions she held.
"When I first came to the Floor at six years old, never would I have thought that someday I would go from homemaker to House Speaker," she said during her remarks on Thursday.
Although she will no longer hold a leadership position, Pelosi will keep her seat in the House to guide the next generation of leaders.
Here’s a timeline of Pelosi’s career in Congress, from her first election to her announcement Thursday:
Nancy Pelosi, who served as chairwoman of the California Democratic Party from 1981 to 1983, wins a special election in June to fill the remainder of the term of Rep. Sala Burton (D), who died in office.
She easily prevails in the heavily Democratic district, receiving more than 67 percent of the vote. She more narrowly defeated a San Francisco city supervisor in the primary in April.
Pelosi was 47 years old at the time.
Pelosi sponsors legislation in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing to allow Chinese students in the United States at the time to be able to seek permanent residency without returning home first.
The House approved the bill unanimously, and the Senate approved it by voice vote, but then-President George H.W. Bush vetoed it, reasoning that he already planned to use his executive powers to give the students the protections the bill would offer.
The Chinese government also had threatened to cut off future student exchanges if the bill became law.
The House voted to override Bush’s veto, but the Senate fell a few votes short of the necessary two-thirds majority.
Pelosi would be a strong advocate for human rights in China throughout her career.
The Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS program goes into effect following advocacy from Pelosi. The program, which Congress approved as part of the National Affordable Housing Act of 1990, to provide affordable housing for low-income people with HIV and AIDS.
The legislation is one of Pelosi’s first legislative victories, and she becomes a proponent of providing protection and funding to help people living with the virus.
A provision of legislation that becomes known as the Pelosi Amendment goes into effect. The amendment, which was approved in 1989, requires international financial institutions, including the World Bank, to allow the assessment of environmental impacts of proposed loans.
It also instructs U.S. representatives on the boards of these institutions to vote against any loans not subject to this public scrutiny.
Pelosi begins serving on the House Intelligence Committee, where she would serve for a decade, making her the longest-serving member in the committee’s history. She serves as the committee’s ranking member from 2000 to 2003 and continues to serve as an ex officio member after.
President Clinton signs a bill into law to preserve the Presidio of San Francisco following a multi-year effort from Pelosi. The Presidio was a military post from 1776 until the Army closed it in 1994, transferring it to the jurisdiction of the National Park Service and putting its future in jeopardy.
The legislation creates a public-private partnership to preserve the park and allow it to become financially self-sufficient. Pelosi initially sponsored the bill to provide funding for the park in 1994, and it passed the House but failed in the Senate.
The effort to pass the bill was renewed in the next session of Congress, which was controlled by the GOP, and was successful. Pelosi helped secure more than $300 million in federal funding for the trust, which was set to be financially independent by 2013.
Pelosi is elected as House minority whip, the highest rank a woman had ever reached in Congress at the time. She narrowly defeated Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), with whom she would work closely in Democratic leadership, to win the role, which she assumes early the next year.
Pelosi splits with then-House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.) and much of her own party in voting against the resolution authorizing the Bush administration to take military action in Iraq. Pelosi said in a statement announcing her decision that she was not convinced that all diplomatic remedies had been exhausted.
Serving as the ranking member of the Intelligence Committee, she said she did not see any evidence or intelligence that Iraq posed an “imminent threat” to the U.S. She remains a strong opponent of the war as it continues.
Pelosi is elected House minority leader, the first woman to hold the role, after Gephardt declines to run for leadership again ahead of his planned 2004 presidential run. She wins with an overwhelming number of caucus members supporting her bid.
Pelosi successfully organizes almost unanimous Democratic opposition to block President George W. Bush’s plan to privatize Social Security. Bush put forward reforming the program as his top domestic priority days after winning the 2004 presidential election.
Bush mentioned the plan in his 2005 State of the Union address and said that he planned to use the political capital he gained from his reelection on this initiative, but Pelosi and Democrats rallied opposition from the American people to the plan.
Polls showed widespread disapproval with Bush’s plan, and the president eventually pulled the idea.
Pelosi is elected the first female speaker of the House after Democrats pick up more than 30 seats in the body to win a majority. Democrats unanimously chose her as their nominee almost exactly 16 years before her announcement Thursday that she would step down from party leadership.
She also became the first Italian American to be elected speaker.
President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, one of the most significant legislative accomplishments of his presidency, into law. Pelosi was essential in gathering enough votes for the legislation to pass, working for months to win over the necessary support from members of the liberal and more conservative Democrats.
Obama said before signing the bill into law that Pelosi was “one of the best speakers” that the House has ever had.
Pelosi becomes minority leader for a second time after Democrats lose control of the House. She fended off a challenge from a conservative Democrat to remain the leader of the caucus.
Pelosi holds onto her position leading House Democrats despite some talks of replacing her after the party lost multiple House special elections in a row. She defended her record at a press conference and her abilities as a “master legislator” and “strategic, politically astute leader.”
Pelosi becomes House speaker for a second time after Democrats regain the majority in the House following the 2018 midterms. Some Democrats expressed interest in Pelosi stepping aside and the party moving to a new generation of leaders, but she made a deal with them that she would not serve for more than four years as speaker.
The House approves two articles of impeachment against President Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress following an investigation into a phone call he made with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in July of that year.
Pelosi initiated the formal House inquiry into the matter, which concluded that Trump withheld military aid from Ukraine to try to pressure Zelensky into launching an investigation into President Biden, whom Trump saw as a top competitor for the 2020 election, and his son, Hunter.
Trump was ultimately acquitted of the charges in the Senate.
Pelosi tears up a copy of Trump’s State of the Union address after he finishes delivering it, gaining widespread attention. She told reporters after that it was “the courteous thing to do given the alternatives.”
Trump appeared to ignore Pelosi’s offer for a handshake earlier. The speech came as the Senate was in the midst of Trump’s impeachment trial.
Pelosi calls on Trump to resign in the aftermath of the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, promising to begin impeachment proceedings if he did not do so or if he was not removed by the Cabinet under the 25th Amendment to the Constitution.
After Trump did not step down and his Cabinet did not remove him, the House impeached him for a second time, with all Democrats and 10 Republicans voting in favor. A majority of the Senate voted in favor of convicting him for the charge of inciting violence, but the body did not reach the required two-thirds majority needed for a conviction.
Pelosi maintains her role as House speaker after Democrats lose seats in the body in the 2020 elections but keep a majority. She leads House Democrats in passing major legislative accomplishments from the Biden administration, including the American Rescue Plan, to fight against the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the bipartisan infrastructure investment package.
Pelosi becomes the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit Taiwan as Beijing steps up its threats toward the self-governing island. She previously visited in 1999 as a House member.
She maintained that the visit did not violate the One China policy, in which the U.S. only recognizes Beijing as the legitimate Chinese government but considers Taiwan's status to be unsettled.
Pelosi announces she will not run for another term in House Democratic leadership but will remain in Congress, representing her House district.