Republican Could Replace Pelosi

Accord­ing to a report, Democ­rats are pan­ick­ing, fear­ful that the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic could pre­vent Nan­cy Pelosi from being re-elect­ed as House speak­er despite Democ­rats hold­ing a major­i­ty in the chamber.

While House mem­bers can vote by proxy due to emer­gency rules adopt­ed in May to pro­tect mem­bers from get­ting and spread­ing COVID-19, but, as The Hill reports, “the proxy-vot­ing rule expires with the new Con­gress, requir­ing law­mak­ers to be in the Capi­tol in per­son if they want to par­tic­i­pate in the Jan. 3 floor vote for Speaker.”

New rules gov­ern­ing the 117th Con­gress hap­pen after the vote for speaker.

House Democ­rats have been tak­ing advan­tage of this proxy-vot­ing rule in sig­nif­i­cant num­bers. On Decem­ber 18, near­ly 90 Democ­rats vot­ed by proxy.

This means that can­di­dates for speak­er of the House must receive a major­i­ty of the votes cast in per­son to be elect­ed speak­er. Democ­rats already have a thin major­i­ty of 222 seats fol­low­ing the 2020 elec­tion, and three mod­er­ate Democ­rats say they don’t intend to vote for Pelosi when the vote takes place on Jan­u­ary 3. In addi­tion, sev­er­al Democ­rats have health con­di­tions that have kept them from the Capi­tol in 2020. It would only take a small num­ber of Democ­rats being exposed to COVID-19 pri­or to the vote for Pelosi to poten­tial­ly be in trouble.

Fifty-six per­cent of vot­ers think Pelosi should not be reelect­ed as speak­er. Only 31 per­cent of vot­ers sup­port her.

Rep. John Yarmuth (D‑Ky.) believes it’s a real pos­si­bil­i­ty that Repub­li­cans could out­num­ber Democ­rats for the vote, and the top Repub­li­can in the House, Kevin McCarthy, could be elect­ed speaker.

“Let’s say, just the­o­ret­i­cal­ly, we had six or eight peo­ple out with COVID and the Repub­li­cans have none. They prob­a­bly could elect McCarthy,” Yarmuth told The Hill.

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