Democrat Pelosi elected leader of US lower house
Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi was elected Thursday as speaker of the US House of Representatives, a post she held previously from 2007-2011.
The veteran 78-year-old congresswomen from California received 220 votes from her colleagues in the lower house, making her the new speaker, while the Republican candidate, Kevin McCarthy , received 192 votes.
Two members of the body did not vote, 18 cast their votes for other people and three lawmakers simply voted “present.”
“I am particularly proud to be the woman Speaker of the House of this Congress , which marks 100 years of women winning the right to vote, as we serve with more than 100 women in the House of Representatives - the highest number in history,” said Pelosi in her speech after being confirmed as speaker.
Pelosi emphasized the need to reopen the government agencies that have been closed for the past 13 days, and she noted the Democratic proposal that she presented on Wednesday to President Donald Trump to put an end to the partial government shutdown.
Democratic congressional leaders explained their plan on Wednesday to Trump and Republican congressional leaders at the White House, but the president rejected the idea out of hand because it did not include funds for the wall he wants on the US-Mexico border.
Among other issues, Pelosi said in her speech that Congress must protect Medicare and Medicaid and take measures to deal with climate change.
She noted the recent creation of a committee focused on the climate change crisis, a measure adopted for the 116th Congress, which began its work on Thursday.
“The entire Congress must work to put an end to the inaction and denial of science that threaten the planet and the future,” Pelosi said.
She also emphasized another of her priorities: a legislative initiative to foster ethics in public office to “restore integrity to government.”
"(This law will) restore integrity to government, so that people can have confidence that government works for the public interest, not the special interests,” Pelosi said.
The bill, which presumably will not be supported by the Republican majority in the Senate, would demand that presidential candidates make public the last 10 years of their tax returns as a prerequisite for running.
After retaking control of the lower house, the Democrats now will have the opportunity to launch investigations on the administration.
Pelosi is planning to confront Trump on assorted fronts, ranging from investigating the deaths of migrant children while in US custody to demanding the president’s tax returns.