Veteran Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi was elected as Speaker of the House of Representatives for the second time. With this development, Pelosi, an ardent supporter of strong US-India ties, has become the most powerful elected woman in the United States.
The 78-year-old California Democrat took the gavel as Democrats regained control of the House of Representatives in the 116th Congress after the mid-term elections in November. She replaces Republican leader Paul Ryan, in the new Congress. She won the speakership by 220-192 vote on Thursday over Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, who is now the House Minority Leader.
It is to be noted that the Speaker is second in the US presidential line of succession, after the Vice President and ahead of the President pro tempore of the Senate. In her acceptance address, she said, "We enter this new Congress with a sense of great hope and confidence for the future, and deep humility and prayerfulness in the face of the challenges ahead."
She added: "I'm particularly proud to be a woman Speaker of the house of this Congress, which marks the 100th year of women having the right to vote. And, that we all have the ability and the privilege to serve with over 100 women members of Congress - the largest number in history."