House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) office said that Pelosi is confident she will retain her position as House speaker when lawmakers cast their votes on Sunday.
“I am enormously grateful for the trust that Members have placed in me,” Pelosi wrote in a letter to the House Democratic caucus on Sunday. “I am confident that the Speaker’s election today will show a united Democratic Caucus ready to meet the challenges ahead, and that we are prepared to set our country on a new course, starting with the Electoral College meeting on Wednesday.”
In her statement, meanwhile, Pelosi made reference to the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic, virus deaths, and associated job losses. “Thank you for your generosity of spirit and patriotism to take on this challenge For The People,” she added.
Should Pelosi retain her speakership after the vote—scheduled for around 2:30 p.m. on Sunday—she would have one of the smallest majorities in the House in recent history. There has been some speculation that Pelosi might be unable to retain her position, as in early 2019, after the 2018 midterm elections, 15 centrist Democrats revolted and did not vote for her.
Democrats are expected to have around 222 seats compared with Republicans’ 211. One race for a New York congressional seat is still being disputed, and a seat in Louisiana will be vacant because Rep.-elect Luke Letlow died last week.
On Sunday, after 2 p.m., lawmakers will enter the House chamber in groups due to social distancing over the CCP virus. A roll call will be held to see who is present, and then lawmakers will elect the House speaker. Members will then take their oath of office in groups. Under the Constitution, Congress begins on Jan. 3.
One Democratic lawmaker, Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.), said he believes she will win but cautioned: “I’m just not sure how she gets there.”
“They have to make sure that all the members come. They have to come in person,” he remarked to The Hill. “And some members have illnesses, so it’s going to be a little touchy.” Some Democratic House members have contracted the CCP virus in recent days, and they might be unable to attend the House swearing-in ceremony and vote on Sunday. The vote requires the members to be there in person, and they cannot cast votes virtually.
“The COVID issue is making us a little nervous,” added Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Texas), a Pelosi supporter, to The Hill.
Right before Christmas, Pelosi told reporters that she believes she will retain the speakership. “I’m fine,” she said at the time.
But there is an effort underway to prevent Pelosi from retaining her speakership.
“A serious effort is underway to prevent Pelosi from becoming speaker, backed by the GOP and Democrats who are disturbed by their party’s embrace of extreme rhetoric and policies like ‘defund the police,’” a veteran congressional aide, who wished not to be named, told The Epoch Times on Dec. 30.