The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Pelosi reelected House speaker; new Congress convenes amid surging pandemic

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the only woman to serve as speaker, was reelected on Jan. 3 by a narrow margin in a closely divided House. (Video: Reuters, Photo: Katherine Frey/Reuters)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the only woman to serve as speaker, was reelected by a narrow margin in a closely divided House. The final vote was 216 for Pelosi and 209 for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

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Democrats are poised to have the slimmest House majority of either party in 20 years, beginning the session with a 222-to-211 advantage.

“As we are sworn in today, we accept a responsibility as daunting and demanding as any that previous generations of leadership have faced. We begin the new Congress during a time of extraordinary difficulty,” said Pelosi, who spoke of the twin crises of pandemic deaths and economic loss.

She then swore in members of the House. Vice President Pence had administered the oath to 32 senators earlier in the day.

Shadowing the proceedings was the effort by dozens of Republicans to subvert the outcome of the election of Joe Biden as the next president, a move forcefully rejected by former House speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.).

Here’s what to know …

  • As President Trump perpetuates baseless claims of widespread voter fraud, a growing coalition of Republican senators announced plans to rebel against Senate leaders by seeking to block formal certification of Biden’s victory on Wednesday in a joint session of Congress. The effort — all but certain to fail — is dividing Republicans.
  • Trump urged fellow Republican Brad Raffensperger, the Georgia secretary of state, to “find” enough votes to overturn his defeat in an extraordinary one-hour phone call Saturday that election experts said raised legal questions. The Washington Post obtained a recording of the conversation, in which Trump alternately berated Raffensperger, tried to flatter him, begged him to act and threatened him with vague criminal consequences if the secretary of state refused to pursue his false claims.
  • Vice President-elect Kamala D. Harris traveled to Savannah, Ga., to campaign for Democratic candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock. Ossoff is trying to unseat Sen. David Perdue (R), while Warnock faces Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R) in Tuesday’s runoff elections, which will decide the Senate majority.
  • Ryan excoriated congressional efforts to challenge Biden’s win, warning that promoting the notion of an illegitimate result strikes “at the foundation of our republic.”
  • Election results are under attack. Here are the facts.