Incoming members of the 116th Congress made history Thursday as the most diverse group of lawmakers ever sworn in. Over 100 women now serve in the House, along with the most LGBTQ, black and Latino members in history. Meanwhile, Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California was officially elected speaker of the House, regaining the gavel she lost after the 2010 midterm elections brought eight years of Republican control to the House.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: “Our nation is in an historic moment. Two months ago, the American people spoke and demanded a new dawn. They called upon the beauty of our Constitution, our system of checks and balances that protects our democracy, remembering that the legislative branch is Article I, the first branch of government, co-equal to the presidency and to the judiciary.”
Fifteen Democrats, including some freshman lawmakers, defected against Pelosi’s speakership, either voting for an alternative candidate or simply voting “present.” As a first order of business, Pelosi and House Democratic leaders sought to end the partial government shutdown, passing a package of spending bills that would reopen the federal government without meeting Trump’s demand for $5 billion for expanding the wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. The White House immediately threatened a veto.