The 116th Congress was sworn in this week, and they predictably elected Nancy Pelosi as their Speaker. Pelosi, Democrat from California’s 12th district, received 220 votes from the 235 Democrats in the House. Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy received 192 votes, and former Freedom Caucus leader Jim Jordan earned the votes of 5 Republicans, including Thomas Massie. Massie also received a vote, from fellow libertarian Justin Amash. Senator Tammy Duckworth received two votes, former Vice President Joe Biden got a vote, and failed Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams received a vote. If you want to see who your representative voted for, you can see it here.
Pelosi was the first woman to be elected Speaker when she won the same position in 2007. She was voted out when Republicans took the House back in the 2010 election, and is the first person to reclaim the position since Democrat Sam Rayburn did it in 1955. However, the House had only flipped three times since that prior to 2018. Kevin McCarthy replaced former Speaker Paul Ryan as the head of the Republican Party in the House. Mitch McConnell held his position as the Majority leader of the Senate, since Republicans held the Senate majority. Senator Chuck Grassley is the most senior member of the Senate, and has been elected president pro tempore of the Senate, per informal tradition. He succeeds Orrin Hatch as third in line for the presidency (after Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi). Chuck Schumer remained the head of the Democrat Party in the Senate.
Senator Elizabeth Warren announced she is launching an exploratory committee for a presidential bid, which is merely a formality for her official run. She kicked off her run in Iowa, where she admitted she is “not a person of color.” However, she maintains her supposed native ancestry, and there were no apologies to Harvard University for using her alleged ancestry as a tool to earn faculty status, and to become Harvard Law’s first woman of color.
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called for a “Green New Deal” to spur economic growth and address climate change, and also to require a 70% tax on top earners. Of course, Ocasio-Cortez also supports universal healthcare and free post-secondary schooling (which may also be in the deal, though its primary focus is green infrastructure), so the tax increases will likely have to be higher than that. We currently bring in $3.422 trillion in taxes per year, and medicare-for-all will cost around $3.2 trillion per year by itself, according to Mercatus Center (pdf). We are currently running a trillion dollar deficit, and almost no one in Washington seems to have a problem with perpetual war (and will fight to keep it), so before this “Green New Deal,” we’re looking at $7.6 trillion. I’ve never seen anyone get better at math by spending time in Congress, but God I hope it happens to Cortez.
You can read more from Ian Scar on Think Liberty here.