US Democratic lawmakers have chosen House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, 80, to lead the party into the Joe Biden era and preside over their narrow House majority as the most powerful person in Congress.
She was nominated in a virtual leadership election, the first of its kind as the nation grapples with the coronavirus pandemic.
Pelosi said she was “very, very honoured” to accept the nomination for speaker and pledged to take action to help “crush” the Covid-19 crisis.
What Congress addresses next “has to be about justice in our economy, it has to be about justice in our justice system,” she added. “Justice in our environment, environmental justice, justice in our health care.”
During the closed-door meeting of House Democrats, Pelosi said one of her top priorities will be passing a law enforcement reform bill, along with legislation addressing healthcare and the environment.
“We have the coronavirus here that shows the injustice in our healthcare system that we must address to crush the virus, to honor our heroes, to put money in the pockets of the American people,” Pelosi said, according to remarks released by her office.
Democrats for months have been at odds with Republicans over a new pandemic aid bill. If the two sides fail to reach an agreement in the next few weeks, it likely will be at the top of the agenda in early 2021.
Also re-elected to the House Democrats’ team were Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Majority Whip James Clyburn, and others currently holding leadership jobs.
Leading up to the November 3 elections, Democrats were optimistic that they would build on their 232-197 majority, with one Libertarian and five vacancies.
Instead, with the outcome of some races still to be determined, Democrats could possibly lose up to a dozen or so seats, making it more difficult for them to push their legislative agenda through the House.
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