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Pelosi in Such a Tight Vote for Speaker, She’s Bringing in Member Diagnosed With Virus

Today is the day new members of Congress are sworn in and a Speaker of the House is chosen for the 117th Congress.

There has been some heavy speculation that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) may be in trouble. I’m not sure I quite believe that, I think she’ll have the votes. But there are certainly questions being raised from a variety of quarters and the vote may be tighter than she was hoping.

She needs 217 to win. She has 222 Democrats if everyone is there. There are 210 Republicans and three vacancies. She can only afford to lose 5 people.

First, everyone may not be there because of the Wuhan coronavirus or other reasons, including Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL), who is battling pancreatic cancer, and Rep. David Valadao (R-CA) and Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL), who recently tested positive for COVID-19. They’re going to have to see who’s there by having people enter in batches so they can record who’s present. Then will come nominations, which will be for Pelosi and GOP leader, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).

Mark Bednar, who is the communications guy for the GOP leader, accused Pelosi of bringing back a member who had only been diagnosed with the virus a week ago.

So, hang it if there’s exposure, Pelosi needs that vote! You all need to skip your Christmas, don’t visit Grandma, you can’t go to your relative’s funeral, but hey, Pelosi can have the member there because she needs her. Seriously, these people can never preach at any of us.

Second, there are progressives who see this as an opportunity to get what they want from Pelosi because she needs their votes. They’re arguing that they should hold the vote from her unless she agrees to some movement on Medicare for all.

Third, there are also reports that the Republicans may be working on a deal with more moderate Democrats who are unhappy with being identified with things like defunding the police. Not sure they have five to break away that boldly, but that has to be another concern for Pelosi.

If no candidate secures 217 votes in the first vote, then they keep on voting until someone does. That’s when strange deals might come to the fore and you might see things like that deal between the GOP and more moderate Democrats come into play.

I still think it more likely she’ll make some deal with the progressives and have enough. But that might further alienate the moderates. So it’s going to be pretty interesting to see how it all breaks down as the day evolves.

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