What would ordinarily be a day of celebration Sunday as new representatives flock to the US Capitol for swearing-in has Democrats sweating over the re-election for their leader, Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
With Pelosi’s party holding only 222 seats — and with an unknown number of representatives sidelined by COVID-19 — things may get complicated.
Under House rules, the first order of business for a new Congress is the election of a speaker. Until one person wins an outright majority of representatives who are present for the vote, no other business can be done.
But the Democrats’ new caucus gives Pelosi little room to maneuver — with only five votes more than the 217 she would need to win a new term as speaker.
And that’s if everyone shows up for the vote. At least two Democrats, Reps. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.) and Rick Larsen (D-Wash.), have tested positive for the coronavirus since Dec. 23 — and under CDC guidelines should remain in quarantine.