The Democrat Nancy Pelosi was narrowly re-elected as spokeswoman for the US House of Representatives

Nancy Pelosi, the House’s only female U.S. speaker, was narrowly re-elected in a new, deeply divided Congress that met in the final weeks of Donald Trump’s presidency. Pelosi, 80, feared when five Democrats left and voted for “present” or someone else. But the third-place woman secured her fourth – and possibly last – non-consecutive term as Speaker of the House, winning 216 votes to 209 for Republican leader Kevin McCarthy. In a symbolic gesture, McCarthy officially handed the hammer to Pelosi. “We are starting the new Congress at a time of extraordinary difficulty,” Pelosi told the Chamber, noting that 350,000 dead and 20 million people infected with COVID-19 were killed.