House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in a statement has outlined some of the Democrats’ policy priorities during the 117th Congress, with a heavy focus on “justice” in a range of areas.
“Indeed, the pandemic has pulled back the curtain on and shown even worsened disparities in our economy and our society,” Pelosi, who was reelected as speaker in a 216–209 vote, said on the House floor on Jan. 3.
“We must pursue justice: economic justice, justice in health, racial justice, environmental, and climate justice. The list goes on.”
Pelosi said that “to advance justice,” she will establish a bipartisan committee that will seek to reduce differences in wealth and income. Called the Select Committee on Economic Disparity and Fairness in Growth, the panel will propose policies “that power fair economic growth to make our economy work for everyone.”
Pelosi first announced the select committee on Dec. 30, saying in a statement that it would be modeled after a congressional committee established during the Franklin D. Roosevelt era “to study and combat the concentration of wealth in America and its role in triggering economic collapse.”
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, in a statement issued following Pelosi’s reelection, called her a “trailblazing leader” and “one of the most effective and accomplished legislators in our nation’s history.”
“With Speaker Pelosi’s leadership, we will come together to defeat the ongoing pandemic, take on the existential threat of climate change, instill greater equity and justice in our society, and build our economy back better than before,” Biden said.
President Donald Trump has repeatedly called Biden a “Trojan horse” for the socialist agenda, and during the State of the Union address last year, Trump denounced what he said was a broader push to adopt socialism in America.
“Here, in the United States, we are alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country,” Trump said at the time. “Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country,” Trump said, prompting applause from congressional Republicans who looked toward the Democratic side of the House chamber.
Pelosi, who sat behind Trump, applauded his remarks, perhaps reflecting a widely reported push to portray the Democratic Party as not having drifted too far to the left, despite the party’s championing of various left-leaning causes, and as self-described democratic socialists have risen to among the party’s most high-profile members.
In November, Pelosi acknowledged that support for leftist initiatives was a wedge between moderates and progressives in the Democratic Party.
Pelosi has led the House Democrats since 2003 and was widely expected to retain her post despite a quiet effort to oust her.
House Republicans said in a statement, “After telling their constituents they wouldn’t support Pelosi for speaker last Congress, five House Democrats just went back on their promise and handed Pelosi the gavel for two more years of her failed and radical leadership.”
Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who served as the House Minority Leader during the last session, ran against Pelosi. He will again lead the House Republicans as minority leader.
While all Republicans voted for McCarthy, three of five Democrats who opposed Pelosi retaining her role as speaker voted “present.” The others cast votes for other Democrats.