House Speaker Nancy Pelosi faces Sunday what could be a tight vote for another two years atop the leadership with a Democratic majority that tilts increasingly to the left and a larger Republican minority in 2021.
How does she balance those conflicting currents? More honesty and more cooperation, said Rep. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, a former Democrat who switched to Republican in 2020 over the House’s impeachment focus.
“She’s going to have to work with people more. She’s going to have to keep her word,” Mr. Van Drew said Sunday on “Fox & Friends.” “Last time, she said she was going to be moderate, she was going to work with the moderates. You saw obviously she didn’t.”
The 117th Congress is scheduled to be sworn in at noon ET, ushering in a narrower Democratic majority after GOP gains in November. Democrats are expected to hold 222 seats and the Republicans 211, with a couple of seats still undecided.
Tuesday’s death of Republican Rep.-elect Luke Letlow left a vacancy in the Louisiana delegation, while the race for New York’s 22nd Congressional District is being challenged in court, with Republican Claudia Tenney clinging to a 12-vote majority.
“We have a stronger group now on the Republican side who want to see moderation and some more conservative values, and they’re going to push,” Mr. Van Drew said. “And they’ve got some room to do it now because the numbers are very close.”
Working with the moderates may be tougher in the next Congress. Progressives have mounted a “Force the Vote” campaign urging leftist Democrats to withhold their support for Ms. Pelosi unless she agrees to bring Medicare for All to the floor for a vote.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen here. This is close,” Mr. Van Drew said. “You don’t know if there’s a Democratic plan, they’re not going to share that with me. If I had to bet money on it, I somehow think she’ll squeak if out again, but she’s going to have a heck of a speakership.”
The Constitution requires each new Congress to be sworn in on Jan. 3, which explains the Sunday session.