The new session of Congress on Thursday featured the election for the new House Speaker, and with a vote of 220 to 192, Nancy Pelosi was re-elected as Speaker of the House of Representatives.
After the midterm election in November, Democrats won a majority of the House seats, and as such elected a Democrat as speaker. Pelosi previously held the job when Democrats had control of the House from 2009 to 2011 and is the only women to have been elected to the position.
Opening up the new session of the 116th Congress, the House passed a bill to reopen the government and stop the current partial government shutdown. The bill is unlikely to pass the Republican controlled Senate or be signed by the president, as it contains no funding for a border wall, something president Trump is insistent on. In response to Trump’s desire for funding for a wall, Pelosi said “We’re not doing a wall. Does anybody have any doubt that we’re not doing a wall? So that’s that.” Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell said it is pointless to try and pass a resolution to reopen the government that does not include funding for the wall “I’ve made it clear on several occasions, and let me say it again: The Senate will not take up any proposal that does not have a real chance of passing this chamber and getting a presidential signature. Let’s not waste the time. Let’s not get off on the wrong foot, with House Democrats using their new platform to produce political statements rather than serious solutions.”
Pelosi created the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, whose job it is to investigate the effects of pollution, the effect of the current climate crisis, and propose legislative solutions. The panel, which previously existed from 2007 to 2011 under the name the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, will not have subpoena power nor will it be able to send legislation to the House floor. The limits of the committee have left many progressive Congress members disappointed, as they had hoped for more radical change.