Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat and the United States House of Representatives’ ground-breaking first female speaker, announced on Thursday that she will step down as party leader when the Republicans take over the house in January 2023.
“I will not seek reelection to Democratic leadership in the next Congress,” the 82-year-old Pelosi said in an emotional speech on the House floor. “The hour has come for a new generation to lead the Democratic caucus.”
In last week’s midterm elections, Republicans narrowly won a majority in the House while Democrats kept control of the Senate.
With Pelosi’s resignation as party leader, a new era in Washington will come to an end.
She was first elected to Congress in 1987 and took office as speaker in 2007. During her second term in the position, she presided over both Donald Trump impeachments and was renowned for maintaining a tight grip on party ranks.
Pelosi, who is currently second in line to succeed President Joe Biden, declared last week that the brutal attack on her ageing husband in the lead-up to the November 8 midterm elections would have an impact on her decision.
An intruder broke into their San Francisco home and attacked Paul Pelosi, who is also 82, with a hammer, leaving him with serious injuries that required hospitalization. The intruder may have been searching for the speaker.
Pelosi praised Democrats’ better-than-expected performance in the midterm election and declared that she would continue to represent her San Francisco district in the next Congress.
“Last week, the American people spoke and their voices were raised in defense of liberty, of the rule of law and of democracy itself,” she said. “The people stood in the breach and repelled the assault on democracy.”
In a statement earlier in the week, she said “House Democrats will continue to play a leading role in supporting President Biden’s agenda — with strong leverage over a scant Republican majority.
In congratulating top House Republican Kevin McCarthy, Biden said he was “ready to work with House Republicans to deliver results for working families.”
McCarthy, who has his eye on the speaker’s gavel, said for his part that “Americans are ready for a new direction, and House Republicans are ready to deliver.”
And House Republicans immediately signaled they would wield their new power to make Biden’s life more difficult — convening a press conference to announce plans to investigate the “national security” implications of the president’s family business connections.
With inflation surging and Biden’s popularity ratings cratering, Republicans had hoped to see a “red wave” wash over America, giving them control of both houses and hence an effective block over most of Biden’s legislative plans.
But instead, Democratic voters — galvanized by the Supreme Court’s overturning of abortion rights and wary of Trump-endorsed candidates who openly rejected the result of the 2020 presidential election — turned out in force.
And Republicans lost ground with candidates rejected by moderate voters as too extreme.
Biden’s party secured an unassailable majority in the upper chamber with 50 seats plus Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote, and a Senate runoff in Georgia could yet see the Democrats improve their majority in the upper house
The Senate oversees the confirmation of federal judges and cabinet members, and having the 100-seat body in his corner will be a major boon for Biden.
McCarthy won the Republican Party’s leadership vote by secret ballot on Tuesday, putting him in prime position to be the next speaker.
But potential far-right defections could yet complicate the 57-year-old’s path when the House’s 435 newly elected members — Democrats and Republicans — choose their new speaker in January, IsL source, SaharaReporters