Speaker Nancy Pelosi has served as the House’s top Democrat for nearly 20 years — and she’s expected to step down at the end of the current Congress.
In her tenure as the first woman Speaker of the House, Pelosi’s accomplishments range from overseeing the implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act, and the Affordable Care Act; impeaching Pres. Donald Trump twice; helping pass the CARES Act and other COVID-19 relief legislation; and pushing through Pres. Joe Biden’s wide-ranging agenda in a closely divided House.
Pelosi’s historic career has been subject to criticism from both the left and the right, ranging from misogynist and ageist attacks to critiques of being both too progressive and not progressive enough—but none of that stopped Pelosi from leading the House through a 20-year war that she opposed, multiple presidencies, contentious elections, a violent riot on the Capitol, and the deadliest pandemic of the century.
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), the chair of the House Democratic Caucus, is the early favorite to take Pelosi’s place when she steps down. But the ideological differences in the Democratic Party that have caused much infighting since Biden took office have already led to arguments over who should lead the House.
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