Washington, DC – While Americans may be divided over Nancy Pelosi’s legacy, few would argue that the outgoing speaker of the House of Representatives’ decision to step down signals a new era in US politics.
For nearly 30 years, Pelosi was the top lawmaker in the Democratic House, leading popular legislation to completion as speaker, and frustrating — and sometimes aligning with — Republicans as a minority leader.
Here, Al Jazeera looks at what’s next for the House and US politics in the Pelosi era.
Who will replace Pelosi as speaker?
Democrats lost control of the House in last month’s midterm elections. So, the next speaker will be from the incoming Republican majority.
In an internal vote, the Republican caucus has chosen Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to be speaker, so he will take Pelosi’s offer when Congress meets on January 3.
But that outcome is not certain.
While vote counting is still underway, the exact composition of the new Congress is not on to be known. Several House races remain very close to completion.
The head of the house is elected by a majority of all the members. At least two right-wing Republicans said they would not support McCarthy as speaker. With a slim Republican majority, McCarthy will not be able to get the 218 votes needed to replace Pelosi.
In such cases, the House will hold additional rounds of voting until the candidate wins a majority. Without a speaker, the room would be ineffective.
The last time a speaker was not elected at the first roll call was in 1923.
Who will be the Democratic leader?
With Pelosi stepping down from the House leadership, Democrats will need to find a lawmaker to serve as both minority leader and speaker if they are to regain control of the chamber in the future.
The new leader is likely to be Hakeem Jeffries of New York, who is supported by Pelosi and other top Democrats.
Jeffries, 52, announced his candidacy for the presidency in a letter to colleagues on Friday. The congressman, who is currently the chairman of the Democratic caucus, is believed to be the front-runner to replace Pelosi for years. Now he seems to want to run for the leadership position.
If he wins, he will be the first Black leader in Congress.
What is Jeffries’ agenda?
In a letter announcing his candidacy, Jeffries pledged to build on the work House Democrats have done over the years in cooperation with the Biden administration.
He also promised to push for the “empowerment” of members of the multi-ethnic and multi-racial democracy and work to win back a majority in 2024.
The Congress said that the Democrats will adjust their communication style to show that they are “truly the party that protects freedom, promotes economic opportunity and values families by lifting them up”.
After the beating of Pelosi’s husband at the couple’s home in San Francisco, which authorities say was politically motivated, Jeffries said he would step up security for lawmakers.
And praising the achievements of House Democrats in recent years, he said: “More must be done to fight inflation, protect our democracy, protect reproductive rights, welcome new Americans, strengthen equal protection and improve social security in the United States.” the whole world.”
Who else is leaving the democratic leadership?
Pelosi is not the only major Democrat to resign from the House leadership. House CEO Steny Hoyer – also in his 80s – will no longer retain his leadership role.
Majority whip Jim Clyburn, 82, is also expected to step down and look for another leadership role.
Katherine Clark of Massachusetts has launched bids to become the Democratic whip, and Pete Aguilar of California is the front-runner for the caucus seat.
Pelosi acknowledged Jeffries, Clark and Aguilar in her speech Thursday, saying they represent the country’s “diverse beauty.”
Yesterday, I said that it is time for a new generation to lead our beauty @House Democrats. It is with pride, gratitude and confidence in their abilities that I greet @RepJeffries, @RepKClark & @RepPeteAguilar for being ready and willing to take on this responsibility.
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) November 18, 2022
What will Pelosi do next?
The outgoing speaker will continue as a congresswoman, representing her San Francisco district for the next two years after being re-elected earlier this month.
“There is no greater honor for me than to stand up and speak for the people of San Francisco,” he said Thursday.
“This is what I will continue to do as a member of the House – speak up for the people of San Francisco, serve the great state of California and protect our Constitution.”