Pelosi to reveal 'future plans' after Republicans take US House
Nancy Pelosi, the veteran Washington powerbroker and longtime leader of the Democrats in Congress, was set to "address her future plans" Thursday, one day after Republicans secured a slim majority in the House of Representatives.
With congressional control now split and Pelosi unseated as leader in the House, the 82-year-old Californian -- known for keeping a tight grip on party ranks as the first woman speaker -- faces a tough choice.
Pelosi, who was elected to Congress in 1987, first became speaker in 2007 and presided over both impeachments of Donald Trump during her second stint in the role, has previously indicated her time as a lawmaker might be up.
Currently second in the line of succession to President Joe Biden, Pelosi said last week her final decision -- should Democrats lose the House -- would be influenced by the brutal attack on her elderly husband in the runup to the November 8 midterms.
Paul Pelosi, who is also 82, was left hospitalized with serious injuries after an intruder -- possibly looking for the speaker -- broke into their San Francisco home and attacked him with a hammer.
"The Speaker plans to address her future plans tomorrow to her colleagues," Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill tweeted Wednesday night. "Stay tuned."
Pelosi was seen arriving at the Capitol early Thursday and NBC reported she would be delivering an address on the House floor, whose timing remained unclear.
On Wednesday Pelosi praised Democrats' better-than-expected performance in the midterm contest, saying the party "defied expectations."
Republicans failed to take control of the Senate, and recaptured the House with a far smaller majority than they had been counting on, in a historically weak performance in the November 8 midterms.
"In the next Congress, House Democrats will continue to play a leading role in supporting President Biden's agenda -- with strong leverage over a scant Republican majority," Pelosi said in a statement.
In congratulating top House Republican Kevin McCarthy -- who will now have the ability to block parts of Biden's agenda -- the president 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.
- Speaker vote looms -
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.
Meanwhile on Tuesday McCarthy won his party's leadership vote by secret ballot, 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 of Representatives' 435 newly elected members -- Democrats and Republicans -- choose their new speaker in January.
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