Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Watch Live


Elected House Speaker, Pelosi Suffers First Defeat

As expected, House Democrats have elected Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to be the first woman ever to be speaker of the House.

But they elected Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland to be majority leader, despite Pelosi's personal endorsement of Pennsylvania's John Murtha.

Murtha and Hoyer fought a bitter and brutal battle for the majority-leader post. Hoyer had long been running for the job, raising money for Democratic candidates. He counted on the support of many veteran lawmakers as well as most of the incoming freshman class.


Murtha had Pelosi, and her loyal allies who applied pressure -- too much pressure, according to some -- to give her the second-in-command of her choosing. But the secret ballot vote wasn't even close: 149 to 86 in favor of Hoyer.

Speaking to reporters afterwards, Pelosi said it was time to move on.

"As we say in church, let there be peace on Earth," Pelosi said. "And let it begin with us; let the healing begin."

Hoyer, smiling broadly, appeared happy to move on. Noting that he's been working alongside Pelosi for four years, he lavished praise on the woman who for the past week has tried to push him out of the picture.

"She is the first woman speaker because she is a person of deep values, keen intellect and extraordinary political ability," Hoyer said.


Throughout the past week, Pelosi's involvement in the divisive squabble between Hoyer and Murtha has left many Democrats scratching their heads, and Republicans cheering from the sidelines.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit