November 16, 2020 at 1:39 PM EST
House Democrats will hold leadership elections virtually; House GOP to meet in person
By Paulina Firozi and Paul Kane
House leadership elections are slated to begin this week as the chamber returns to Washington post-election.
House Democrats are planning to hold their elections virtually, as the pandemic dictates a change to their usual process of in-person speeches, paper ballots and hand counts.
For the first time, candidates for leadership positions will address the caucus in a video call and members will use an app on a government iPhone to vote, according to a letter House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) sent to all House Democrats.
House Republicans will meet in person for their leadership elections Tuesday afternoon at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill in Washington, according to a House GOP aide.
At a news briefing Monday afternoon, D.C. city officials confirmed that waivers were granted to allow members of Congress to gather. When asked by a reporter about a meeting of Republican lawmakers at the hotel this week, Chris Rodriguez, director of D.C.’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, confirmed that a waiver was approved.
“We knew that a waiver was coming from members of the House to hold a meeting,” he said, adding: “The work of Congress, as we’ve said before, is an essential function of government, so after the plan was reviewed and approved, we issued the waiver.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is expected to win another two-year term in the post, as are Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) and Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.), even as the party will return in January with a shrunken majority. All three are expected to win by acclamation.
The two biggest contests in the down-ballot leadership races for Democrats are for the assistant speaker post and the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.) is stepping down as DCCC chair after Democrats markedly underperformed expectations in this year’s election.
Fenit Nirappil contributed to this report.
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