House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) could soon have an experience suffered by millions of Americans this year — but few politicians.
There’s a slight chance that the career politician’s job could be jeopardized by the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report from The Hill.
Pelosi’s job on the line
Pelosi is up for re-election for House speaker on Jan. 3, but lawmakers must be physically present for the vote.
That could become a problem for Pelosi after members of her party have gotten used to an unprecedented change she pushed through this year — proxy voting — to make the House’s work more convenient amid the coronavirus. Some Democrats are concerned that a coronavirus infection in their caucus could cost Pelosi critical votes, even raising the possibility of her Republican counterpart, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA) taking Pelosi’s job.
“Let’s say, just theoretically, we had six or eight people out with Covid and the Republicans have none. They probably could elect McCarthy,” Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY) said, as The Hill reported.
Pelosi can’t afford to lose many Democrat votes, as the House actually lost seats in November’s election and has a much slimmer majority. Pelosi was opposed by 15 members last time.
At least three Democrats, Reps. Conor Lamb (PA), Jared Golden (ME), and Elissa Slotkin (MI), are against Pelosi’s bid.
Will Pelosi get final term?
Thirty-five lawmakers have become infected with the virus since the pandemic disrupted American life, The Hill noted.
“We’re in a health care crisis, right? No one can get sick. That’s the X-factor here,” a Pelosi ally told The Hill anonymously. “We need everyone to be healthy… That’s the big fear.”
In the odd chance that Pelosi loses her job, it would be a sobering experience for the 80-year-old speaker, who is not exactly accustomed to not getting what she wants; she responded to criticism of a scandalous haircut this year by accusing a salon owner of a conspiracy against her.
In the grand scheme of things, it does seem unlikely that Pelosi would be denied what she has suggested will be her last term before retirement, as some Democrats acknowledge.
“There’s the usual suspects who make it part of their brand to vote against her. But I think there’s an awareness — and there’s certainly a message coming from within the caucus — that this may not be a year for the usual branding,” Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT) told The Hill. “We’re a fractious bunch, but Pelosi’s very, very good at what she does.”