House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday she has no concerns about governing with a thin majority, pointing to presumptive President-elect Joseph R. Biden as a key element to boost Democrats’ leverage in the House.
Mrs. Pelosi, California Democrat, acknowledged that her party lost key incumbents on election night, but said the increased Republican presence won’t change her approach to putting legislation on the floor.
“We had a very big win in the last election,” she told reporters at her weekly press conference. “It is smaller [now] … but we still have the power of the majority. But on top of that, our leverage and our power is greatly enhanced by having a Democratic president in the White House, especially Joe Biden.
“We have a president of the United States. That is so very important. And whether you’re in the minority or majority if the president is of your party, you have more power,” she added.
Democrats have clinched the 218 seats they need to retain control of the chamber, but Republicans have chipped away at the majority they built in 2018 by toppling at least nine incumbents and are poised to gain a net of at least seven seats so far.
There are, however, several more House races that still haven’t been called.
Mrs. Pelosi credited President Trump’s influence in swing districts Democrats were able to flip in 2018, which presented an uphill battle for many of those first-term members.
“I don’t think that people are quite understanding of the 40 seats that we won 31 were in Trump’s district. He wasn’t on the ballot, and right away we said he’s going to be on the ballot, that’s a steeper climb in this district. And with the actions that were taken. We saved most of those seats, so we’re very proud of that,” she said. “President Trump, to his credit, turned out a big vote.”
In light of their losses, rank-and-file Democrats on opposing ends of the party have turned the blame on each other, with more moderate members from front-line districts blaming liberal messaging they say the party didn’t do enough to counter, while those on the far left blamed poor campaigning tactics.
When pressed by reporters on if she accepted any responsibility for the Democrats’ disappointing night, Mrs. Pelosi said she claimed responsibility for holding onto the House.