OPINION | This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
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House Speaker and California Rep. Nancy Pelosi has a real issue on her hands and it could end her reign as the head of the House.
Congresswoman-elect Nicole Malliotakis of New York appeared on Fox News last week and said that Pelosi may find herself ousted from the role of Speaker, Newsthud reported.
“What I can tell you is that she (Pelosi) was elected speaker there were 15 Democrats that did not vote for her. 10 of them are returning and the majority is less than that and so we have an opportunity to see a new speaker,” the newly elected Congresswoman said.
“We even have an opportunity for Kevin McCarthy to become speaker depending on how things play out, who shows up,” she said.
With people like New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her squad not being fans of Pelosi and some House members not going to the chamber to vote because of the pandemic, Pelosi’s reign as Speaker is in real jeopardy, as we reported last week.
Republicans won every single race for the House that was considered a “toss up,” a total of 27, and not one Republican lost reelection in what was supposed to be a “blue wave” year for Democrats.
And because of that, when it comes time to vote for a new Speaker of The House in January, a small number of House Democrats missing for whatever reason could lead to a Republican being elected Speaker, The Hill reported.
As Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) seeks the support to keep the gavel for another term, her allies are keeping close watch on a potential wild card that could complicate her path next month: COVID-19.
Pelosi is already facing a much slimmer majority in the next Congress, after Democrats were clobbered at the polls in November, meaning she can afford far fewer Democratic defections than the 15 who opposed her two years ago. And lawmakers must be present on the House floor to cast their vote for Speaker, precluding the option for members to vote remotely, as many have done throughout the pandemic.
The combination of factors creates the chance that Democrats could face a dilemma on Jan. 3 in which Pelosi locks up the Democratic support to remain Speaker, but coronavirus concerns — illnesses, quarantines or otherwise — prevent a sufficient number of them from being in the Capitol to log their votes.
A failure of Pelosi to secure support from half the voting members would, at the very least, throw the process into chaos. In the Democrats’ nightmare scenario, the math could tilt so far in the Republicans’ favor that it yields a GOP Speaker.
That would be a nightmare for Speaker Pelosi and the Democrats, but it would be a cause for celebration for the Republicans.
“Let’s say, just theoretically, we had six or eight people out with Covid and the Republicans have none. They probably could elect [Kevin] McCarthy,” Democrat Kentucky Rep. John Yarmuth said of the House Minority Leader becoming Speaker.
“We’re in a health care crisis, right? No one can get sick. That’s the X-factor here,” a House Democrat, said to be a Pelosi ally, said about it. “We need everyone to be healthy. … That’s the big fear.”