Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Nancy Pelosi is poised to recapture the speaker’s gavel Thursday, starting another chapter in her historic career as House Democrats take power in the 116th Congress.
On Capitol Hill, Pelosi said she was looking forward to swearing in "the most transformative Congress."
She ignored a question about whether she plans to return to the White House on Friday to confer again with President Donald Trump on ending the partial government shutdown — just one of many battles she's expected to lead against the president.
Aides said she would prepare for the day's pomp on the House floor with her senior staff, finalizing and rehearsing her gavel speech she'll give as she asserts herself as the most powerful woman in the U.S. government. She’ll also greet her family and guests who've come to see her be sworn in herself.
Sixteen members of Pelosi’s family will be present for the speaker vote, which is expected to begin before 1 p.m. and conclude around 2 p.m.
To win the speakership, Pelosi, a California Democrat, needs the support of 218 lawmakers, representing a simple majority of the 435 seats in the House. Despite some rumblings of ousting her following the midterm elections, only a handful of Democratic members are expected to vote against Pelosi on the floor.
Pelosi, 78, first served as House speaker for four years from 2007 to 2011. Only Frederick Muhlenberg, Henry Clay, John W. Taylor, Thomas Bracket Reed and Sam Rayburn have ever recaptured the gavel after serving as speaker, returning to the minority, and then ascending back to the majority. Rayburn was the most recent to achieve the feat – in 1955.
Pelosi, who lives in Georgetown on the Potomac waterfront at the Washington Harbour, usually rises by 5 a.m. and was up early again Thursday, according to an aide.
She attended a bipartisan congressional prayer service at St. Peter Catholic Church on Capitol Hill before delivering remarks at Congressional Black Caucus Foundation ceremony at Warner Theatre in downtown Washington.
Pelosi is wearing a pink asymmetrical dress, according to an aide. Once she's elected speaker, she'll deliver remarks to the House of Representatives and pose for photos with her grandchildren and kids of other lawmakers in attendance.
After the speaker’s vote, she’ll participate in the ceremonial swearing-in of Members in the Rayburn Room of the Capitol, posing for pictures with members and their families from 3:00 p.m. until 6:30 p.m.
Thursday evening, following votes to end the shutdown, she’ll extend brief greetings at a political event with Emily’s list celebration at the Hyatt Regency.
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