Nancy Pelosi: A Biden ally, the first woman Speaker of the House

Nancy Pelosi, the first female speaker of the US House of Representatives, said Thursday she will step down as party leader when Republicans take control of the chamber in January.

The leader of the Democratic Party and a close ally of US President Joe Biden, Mrs. Pelosi’s move came after last week’s midterm elections.

While the overall result was disappointing for Republicans, the party managed to take control of the House of Representatives by a slim margin that will hinder Biden’s ability to pass legislation. Democrats retained control of the Senate.

“I will not seek re-election to Democratic leadership in the next Congress,” Pelosi, 82, said in an emotional House speech.

“It is time for a new generation to lead the Democratic Caucus.”

Pelosi’s departure as party leader will mark the end of an era in Washington. She was elected to Congress in 1987, and became Speaker of the House for the first time in 2007. Known for her tight grip on party ranks, she presided over both the impeachment of Donald Trump during her second term in office.

Now second in line to the president’s succession, Pelosi said last week her decision about the future would be affected by the brutal attack on her elderly husband in the run-up to the November 8th midterm elections.

Paul Pelosi, also 82, was hospitalized with serious injuries after an intruder — possibly looking for a megaphone — broke into their San Francisco home and attacked him with a hammer.

Pelosi caught the world’s attention earlier this year when she traveled to Taiwan, angering China, which calls the independent country home. And Beijing conducted military exercises that lasted days in response to her visit.

She said she will continue to represent her San Francisco district in the next Congress and praised the Democrats’ better-than-expected performance in the midterm contest.

“Last week, the American people have spoken out and their voices have been raised in defense of freedom, the rule of law and democracy itself,” she said.

“The people stood in breach and repelled the assault on democracy.”

“House Democrats will continue to play a leadership role in supporting President Biden’s agenda — with strong leverage over the slim Republican majority,” she said in a statement earlier in the week.

In congratulating House Republican Speaker Kevin McCarthy, Biden said he was “ready to work with House Republicans to deliver results for working families.”

McCarthy, watching the speaker’s gavel, said for his part that “Americans are ready for a new direction, and House Republicans are ready for it.”

House Republicans immediately signaled they would exercise their new power to make Biden’s life more difficult — holding a news conference to announce plans to investigate the “national security” implications of the president’s family business ties.

Speakers vote looms

With inflation soaring and Biden’s popularity plummeting, Republicans hoped to see a “red wave” sweep across America, giving them control of both houses and thus effectively blocking most of Biden’s legislative plans.

But instead, Democratic voters — galvanized by the Supreme Court’s revocation of abortion rights and wary of Trump-backed candidates who publicly rejected the outcome of the 2020 presidential election — took effect.

Republicans backed away from candidates who were rejected by moderate voters as too radical.

Biden’s party secured an unassailable 50-seat upper house majority plus the tiebreaker vote for Vice President Kamala Harris, and a Georgia Senate runoff could see Democrats improve their Senate majority.

The Senate oversees confirmation of federal judges and Cabinet members, and having the 100-seat body in his corner would be a huge boon for Biden.

McCarthy won the GOP leadership vote by secret ballot on Tuesday, putting him in a prime position to be the next speaker.

But potential defections to the far right could complicate the 57-year-old’s path when the newly elected 435 members of the House – Democrats and Republicans – choose their new speaker in January.

Originally published as Nancy Pelosi resigns from her position as Speaker of the US House of Representatives

Read related topics:Joe Biden

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