Senior Democratic Party leader Nancy Pelosi has been officially elected as the new speaker of the House of Representatives on Thursday in a majority vote on the first day of the 116th Congress.
Pelosi defeated the Republican Party’s nominee Kevin McCarthy, as she won 220 votes. McCarthy will take charge as the House minority leader.
As she took charge of the House of Representatives, Pelosi in an interview said that US President Donald Trump should expect a "different world" with the new Congress.
Among those entering Congress are a record number of women, including two Muslim women, as well as the youngest woman ever elected to Congress.
Pelosi’s ascendancy to the Speaker’s chair is also a historic landmark as she reclaimed this title which she previously held during President Barack Obama’s term. She served as the first and only female House speaker from 2007 to 2011.
"We enter this new Congress with a sense of great hope and confidence for the future and deep humility," Pelosi said in remarks shortly after being elected to the speakership.
"Our nation is at a historic moment," she continued. "Two months ago, the American people spoke and demanded a new dawn."
Pelosi’s confirmation as speaker also had to tackle the hurdle of a growing opposition against her leadership. There was a sizeable faction in the Democratic Party that wanted her to not become speaker. However, no other strong contender came up which helped consolidate support in Pelosi’s favour.
Pelosi’s charge of the House of Representatives brings testing times for Donald Trump as president as the two centers of power have diverse agendas that they wish to pursue. Pelosi will focus on climate change, medicare and income inequality while Trump has worked to weaken legislation on climate change.
The ongoing shutdown of the US government over Trump’s demand for border wall funding is also set to pit Pelosi against Trump.