Dec 20, 2019

The year of the speaker

Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

2019 started as the year of The Squad, and is ending as the year of the speaker.

The big picture: House Speaker Pelosi ushered in 2019 with a new Democratic majority that is the most diverse in the history of Congress, Axios' Alayna Treene notes.

  • That new majority included The Squad — Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley and Ilhan Omar — who were younger and far to the left of House leadership.
  • But Pelosi became the first speaker in 60 years to reclaim the gavel after losing it — ultimately using it to impeach President Trump.
  • Under her leadership, the House has passed the first major gun-safety bill in decades, comprehensive voting-rights legislation, and the bipartisan U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement.

What they're saying:

  • Hillary Clinton: "Pelosi is living proof that when it comes to getting the job done, more often than not, it takes a woman."
  • Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.): “This will be a stain on Pelosi’s legacy ... She’ll be historic in many ways ... But in terms of abusing the power of Congress to settle a personal vendetta, I think that’s playing out before our eyes right now.”

The bottom line: Prior to the Trump administration, Pelosi would have been best remembered as the first female speaker, and for losing the gavel over the Obamacare vote.

  • "Would I rather be speaker or would I rather 20 million people have health care?” she told the N.Y. Times in an interview this year.

What's next: The State of the Union is Feb. 4, by which time the Senate might have already started its Trump trial.

Go deeper:

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Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

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Why it matters: President Trump will be speaking before the jurors of his Senate trial — as well as multiple potential 2020 general election opponents — in the chamber where he was impeached earlier this week.

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