Thursday, January 28

Divisions among Democrats over party control


Washington Correspondent

Updated:

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Democrats again overwhelmingly supported this Sunday Nancy Pelosi as president of the House of Representatives, despite its growing internal divisions and the failure to have lost seven seats in the elections last November. The majority that Democrats have in the House today in this legislature, which will last two years, is the tightest in two decades, which will make it much more difficult for the leader of the party not only to contain the Republicans, but to control her own bench. In protest, the rising star of the party, the New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, was absent from the voting, which culminated after the closing of this edition.

Democrats hardly enjoy 222 seats in the House of Representatives to 213 for Republicans. The polls predicted that in the November elections, Democrats would win a dozen seats compared to the results of 2018, but they ended up losing seven to Republicans. The poor results, in a year in which a Democrat has also won the presidential elections, have increased the pressure on Pelosi, who has led her party in the House of Representatives since 2002.

In 2018, 10 Democrats voted against Pelosi, seeking a generational change at the head of the party. They did not succeed then, and they have not succeeded now. The vote this Sunday took place between exceptional security measures due to the pandemic. The vote had to be face-to-face, despite the isolation measures. The deputies voted in groups of 60, which significantly lengthened the process.

Pelosi was elected Speaker of the House of Representatives for the first time in 2007, following her party’s victory in the 2006 by-elections. She was in office until 2011, and returned in 2018, the third person in history to return to office. Presidency of the House after losing it. In his first term, he managed to approve the health reform that he developed jointly with Barack Obama. Since her return to the presidency of the House, the 80-year-old California deputy has faced criticism and internal opposition from her party’s left wing, who do not see her as combative enough with Republicans.

Left pressures

It is true that Pelosi gave the left wing of her party nothing more and nothing less than the impeachment of the impeachment against President Trump, a toast to the sun that was destined to fail in the Senate given the Republican majority in that chamber. From office, and since the Democratic victory in the 201 by-elections, Pelosi has become Trump’s biggest antagonist in Washington. The fights between the two leaders have been mythological, and in fact both have not spoken directly for months, despite a pandemic that in the US alone has infected 20 million people and has sent 350,000.

The resistance against Pelosi is headed by a group of four new deputies known as “the squad”: Ocasio-Cortez; Ilhan Omar, of Minnesota; Rashida Train Michigan, and Anna Pressley from Massachusetts. Among the priorities of the left wing of Democrats is the cutting of US police departments, following accusations of racism last summer, which sparked a nationwide wave of protests and riots. Those deputies also defend an aggressive set of policy proposals to help tackle global warming and the financial crisis.

In the line of succession

The role of Speaker of the House of Representatives is crucial in the American political system. He functions as a kind of prime minister chosen by the lower house to propose laws, and he is second in line to the president, behind the vice president. And when it is occupied by someone from a party other than the president, it becomes an ideal pulpit to oppose the White House, as Pelosi has shown with Trump.

The Republicans, as usual, proposed yesterday to the leader of their caucus, the California deputy Kevin McCarthy, as an alternative candidate. There were no more candidates, neither among the Democrats nor among the Republicans. She was the deputy for Wyoming Liz Cheney, daughter of the former vice president Dick Cheney, who presented the candidacy of McCarthy, whom he defined as the best guarantor that “socialism will not take control of this country.”

Moments before the vote on Pelosi, the new senators took office. Every two years the entire House of Representatives and one third of the Senate are renewed. After the inauguration of the new senators, the Republican leader in the House, Mitch McConnellHe said: “To say that the 117th Congress is meeting at a difficult time would be an understatement. From the political divide to a deadly pandemic and adversaries around the world, the obstacles before us are many and very serious. But there are also many reasons for hope. McConnell identified the distribution of the coronavirus vaccine to all geographic locations in the country as a priority.

The truth is that the majority of the Senate is up in the air, since Georgia’s two seats went to the second round because no candidate obtained 50% of the votes. If the Democrats win those two seats, in an election that takes place this Tuesday, they also gain control of that chamber and, therefore, of the entire Capitol. In that case, Democrats and Republicans would control 50 seats and incoming Vice President Kamala Harris, as Speaker of the Senate, could cast the runoff votes. On Wednesday, the Capitol must process the results of the presidential elections.

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