The house convened Thursday morning to elect Nancy Pelosi as speaker of the House. Pelosi is the only woman to hold the post, she reclaims the gavel that she lost in 2011.
Pelosi, 78, starts her second stint leading the House after eight years of Republicans controlling the chamber. She will lead a Democratic majority at a time when the party has to decide when — and how forcefully — to challenge President Donald Trump and the GOP-held Senate.
Pelosi, the first woman to serve as speaker, takes the post again on the 13th day of a partial government shutdown, amid a spat with Trump over whether to fund his proposed border wall. On immigration, health care and other issues, she has pledged to claw back against the president and the GOP. But she has promised to find areas to work with Republicans — potentially on updating infrastructure and lowering drug prices.
To reclaim the speaker’s gavel, Pelosi navigated 2018 midterm elections in which she took a drubbing from Republicans and even many Democrats. After her party gained a net 40 GOP-held seats in November, she struck a series of deals to hold off rebellion within her party. Some Democrats who called for new leadership ended up opposing Pelosi for speaker, but she secured enough votes to lead the House again.
Democrats plan a flurry of activity with their new 235-199 majority in the House. They aim to pass bills Thursday night to reopen the nine unfunded U.S. departments, though the Senate has pledged not to take up the proposals as Trump threatens to veto them.
Democrats also plan to quickly pass a sweeping anti-corruption bill, among other largely symbolic measures meant to set a tone for their majority. Pelosi has stressed that she wants to focus first on noncontroversial measures with broad public support.