All that talk about getting some fresh new ideas and a new leader into the role of Speaker of the House went out the U.S. House window Sunday as Nancy Pelosi once again proved she will not be denied in her cling to power.

Not even confirmed COVID-19 cases would get in the way of the 80-year-old being elected Speaker, as workers constructed an enclosure in a balcony overlooking the House chamber so lawmakers exposed to the virus or those that had even tested positive for the coronavirus could still vote.

“To build a structure like that, in the dark of night, to only protect the votes that Speaker Pelosi needs to get re-elected speaker is shameful,” said Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Illinois.

One of the reps using the structure was Democrat Rep. Gwen Moore of Wisconsin, who flew to the Capital for the vote despite announcing on Dec. 28 that she had tested positive for the coronavirus.

The final vote, which took almost three hours, finished with 216 votes for Pelosi and 209 for Republican Kevin McCarthy, who will once again be the minority leader. Five Democrats did not support Pelosi’s re-election as speaker, voting either “present” or for another candidate.

The results of the Nov. 3 election ended up being much closer than Pelosi envisioned, as she had predicted Democrats would pick up 10 to 15 seats in the House. In reality, it was the Republicans picking up 13 seats, giving the Democrats the smallest House majority in decades. Pelosi, who has led her party in the House since 2003, has vowed that this will be her final time in the Speaker chair.

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