Pelosi's House Democratic majority on thin ice amid vacancies


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi remains confident that she can pass major items through her chamber even though she leads the Democrats' most fragile majority in the House of Representatives since the 1940s.

"It's not going to be a problem," Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters a month ago when asked about advancing her party's agenda through the House without the help of the minority Republicans.

But the task facing Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., isn't getting any easier.

The death Tuesday of 84-year-old Democratic Rep. Alcee Hastings of Florida further reduces the Democrats' already perilous majority. What started out at the beginning of the year as a slim 222-213 margin is now temporarily down to 218-212. That means the Democrats can currently lose just two votes and still be able to pass legislation along party lines.

Even before the start of the 117th Congress, Hoyer expressed reservations, telling reporters in December, a month after the GOP took a bite out of the House Democrats' majoirty in the 2020 elecions, that "I'm certainly concerned by the slimming of the majority."

"We're going to be a very unified caucus as we were this past Congress," Hoyer noted at the time. "In many of our bills, as you probably know, we passed unanimously without any losing any Democratic votes. And, in others, we [lost] just a few. But I think members will be focused on how close the majority is now or in the future"

And that's been the case so far.

The massive $1.9 trillion COVID relief package – which was President Biden's top priority upon taking office – passed the House with just two Democrats defecting on the first vote, and just one on the revised bill that came back from the Senate.

The House passed two bills expanding background checks on gun sales with just one Democrat voting against one measure and two Democrats defecting on the other.

There were similarly just two House Democrats who voted against the party’s police reform bill – and just one defection on the Democrats’ sweeping election and campaign finance refor... (Read more)

Submitted 13 days ago

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