All six members of the “Squad,” the group of progressive Democratic members of Congress that recently added two members, voted in favor of Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for another term as Speaker of the House when the 117th Congress began on Sunday afternoon.
Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) all voted for Pelosi, as they did back in the 2019 speaker election.
Meanwhile, Congresswoman Cori Bush (D-MO) and Congressman Jamal Bowman (D-NY), the two newest “Squad” members, also voted for Pelosi, despite remaining secretive about how they planned to vote in the speaker election during a CNN interview late last month.
“What I’m going to do is make sure that the voices of the people of St. Louis are heard, and that we have what we need, and so you’ll find out then,” Bush told a CNN host who asked how she planned to vote in the election. “I’m working with my community.”
Bowman, who was featured in the same CNN interview, gave a similar answer to the question about whether he would vote for Pelosi for Speaker of the House: “You will find out when my vote is tallied. And again, organizing with our community to figure out what’s best.”
After the speaker election, reports the Associated Press, Bowman explained his vote as follows: “Our country needs stability right now, and it’s really important for the Democratic Party to come together.”
Both Bush and Bowman were elected to Congress after launching successful primary challenges against long-time Democratic members of Congress. Former Congressman William Lacey Clay Jr. (D-MO), whose family represented the same Missouri congressional seat since the 1960s, lost to Bush in a primary, while former Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY), who entered Congress in the late 1980s, lost to Bowman.
Ultimately, only two Democrats voted for someone else: Congressman Connor Lamb (D-PA), who vote for another Democrat in 2019, voted for Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), and Congressman Jared Golden (D-ME), who also voted for someone else as speaker in the 2019 election, voted for Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL).
Pelosi, now on her fourth stint as speaker, has served in Congress since the 1980s. Despite post-election turmoil within the Democratic caucus — a combination of Democrats performing poorly in congressional races and strife between the party’s left-wing and purple-district wing — no Democrats made a public challenge against Pelosi in an effort to keep her from the top job.
Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), one of three Democrats to vote “present” in the speaker vote, told Politico that she did so “because no one stepped up” to challenge Pelosi for the top spot in the House. Back in the 2019 speaker election, Slotkin also voted “present.”
Congressman Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who has served as House minority leader since 2019, secured the second-most votes in the speaker election, having drawn 209 votes from within the Republican caucus, seven fewer votes than Pelosi.