On January 3rd, 2021 Nancy Pelosi was re-elected to be the Speaker of the House by a narrow margin. Pelosi, who has led the Democratic party in the House since 2003 and is the only woman to be speaker, received 216 votes while her opponent for Kevin McCarthy, who again will be the chamber’s minority leader, received 209 votes.
Due to her re-election, Pelosi and President-elect Joe Biden are set for a challenging course of producing legislation to tackle the pandemic, addressing the economy and other party priorities. However, her narrow win illustrates the tumultuous election for the democrats. Pelosi is now in control of the slimmest majority in almost two decades as Washington prepares for a new Democratic president, with many democrats losing their seats in the house last election. With the diminishing power of the democrats in the House, democratic control of congress hinges on the results of the runoff elections in Georgia, in which both democratic candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock flipped the two previous republican senate seats.
Pelosi’s victory also means that after two years as President Trump’s most outspoken antagonist, Pelosi will now be responsible for trying to further through Congress as much of President-elect Biden’s agenda as possible, but it will be no easy task. With her party in control of just 222 of 435 seats, Pelosi can afford to lose only a handful of Democrats on any given vote. Emboldened Republicans are aiming to retake the majority in next year’s midterm elections and are in no mood to extend an olive branch, while progressive and moderate democrats are already warring over how to use the dynamic to tip the party in their respective directions.