Cheers, tears, and history: The new Democratic House is sworn in

The most heartwarming moments from the House floor.

Nancy Pelosi in the U.S. Capitol on January 3, 2019. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Nancy Pelosi in the U.S. Capitol on January 3, 2019. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The House of Representatives is officially under new management.

The 116th Congress was seated on Thursday, two months after Democrats flipped 40 House seats in the midterms — the most for the party in a single election since Watergate.

The new Congress kicked things off by electing the next Speaker of the House.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) nominated Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to become Speaker for the second time by noting that “House Democrats are down with NDP: Nancy D’Alesandro Pelosi.”

When it was time to vote, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) — one of the two first-ever Muslim congresswomen — announced her support for Pelosi while her children dabbed.

Rep. Katie Hill (D-CA) said she was backing her fellow California congresswoman “for the future generations of women.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-NY), who became a conservative boogeyman overnight after upsetting longtime Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY) in last year’s primary, was heckled by some House Republicans for supporting Pelosi.

After Pelosi was elected as the new Speaker of the House, the California Democrat addressed the chamber by noting what reclaiming the gavel at this moment in history means to her.


“We all have the ability and the privilege to serve with over 100 women members of Congress, the largest numbers in history,” said Pelosi.

Reps. Deb Haaland (D-NM) and Sharice Davids (D-KS) shared an emotional moment after being sworn in and officially becoming the first Native American women in Congress.

The highest-ranking woman in the history of American government also said “Democrats will be offering the Senate Republican appropriations legislation to re-open government later today” to loud applause from members of her party.

While running through a list of Democrats’ legislative priorities for the new Congress, Pelosi urged the House to remember former President Ronald Reagan’s final speech as president: “If we ever close the door to new Americans, our leadership role in the world will soon be lost.”