Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California is applauded at the Capitol ahead of the vote that made her speaker of the House for the second time.Carolyn Kaster/AP
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On Thursday afternoon, Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was elected speaker of the House for the 116th Congress. In the biggest swing toward Democratic power since Watergate, Democrats gained 40 House seats in the 2018 midterm elections.
Pelosi formerly held the speakership between 2007-2011, at which point Democrats lost the House majority and were replaced by a wave of tea party conservatives. She has since served as House minority leader. Pelosi is the only woman to ever be elected speaker, and is the first speaker to serve two non-consecutive terms since former Texas Rep. Sam Rayburn, who served three non-consecutive terms as speaker between 1940 and 1961.
Nancy Pelosi stands to cast her vote to become House Speaker, with an assist from excited children by her side pic.twitter.com/MLYoH0EaHR
— POLITICO (@politico) January 3, 2019
The new Congress includes a number of firsts for female politicians, including the first Native American and Muslim women elected to Congress, as well as the youngest woman elected to Congress.
The first act of the new House will be attempting to pass a spending bill to end the government shutdown that began on December 22 and has continued through the new year. President Donald Trump has said he will not sign the Democrats’ bill, which will not include funding for his border wall. Democrats have also promised a robust oversight agenda, which will include a number of investigations into Trump and his campaign.
Watch Pelosi’s first remarks after retaking the speaker’s gavel below: