John Boehner Elected Next Speaker, Nancy Pelosi Will Lead Democrats

John Boehner elected next speaker, Nancy Pelosi will lead Democrats.

November 17, 2010, 1:26 PM

WASHINGTON Nov. 17, 2010— -- Despite an election that saw a wave of Republicans sweep the GOP into the House majority, when Congress convenes early next January both party's teams will closely resemble the current House leadership of the 111th Congress.

Republicans unanimously picked Minority Leader John Boehner, who ran unopposed as the next Speaker of the House while Minority Whip Eric Cantor, R-Va., was selected as Majority Leader.

"The job of the next Speaker is to work to restore the institution ... restore it to being the People's House," Boehner told the Republican Caucus. "It's not about us; it's about them. And what they want is a smaller, less costly, more accountable government. More jobs, less spending. It's that simple," he said.

The current Deputy Whip, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., moved up the GOP ranks to the third-ranking post in the Republican majority as House Majority Whip. Republicans are also expected to choose Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, as the GOP Conference chairman, the party's fourth-ranking post being vacated by Rep. Mike Pence, who is not seeking re-election to the House Republican leadership.

More than 80 new House Republicans voted to pick two representatives to serve at the GOP leadership table. Rep. Kristi Noem, South Dakota, and Rep. Tim Scott, South Carolina, who were considered frontrunners for the posts, were elected to the posts.

The House Democratic Caucus elected Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi as Democratic Leader for the next session of Congress.

Pelosi, D-Calif., was challenged by moderate Blue Dog Rep. Heath Shuler, D-N.C., and won by 150-43 votes.

Pelosi defended the caucus's decision to keep its current leadership team in place despite a landslide election earlier this month that saw more than 60 House Democrats suffer defeat at the hands of the GOP.

"I am proud to be part of this leadership team. Our consensus is that we go out there, listening to the American people," Pelosi said. "It's about jobs, it's about reducing the deficit, and it's about fighting for the middle class. So I look forward to doing that in this great leadership team."

The speaker became slightly defensive when asked to explain why she is the best person to lead House Democrats, considering her personal approval ratings are in the single digits.

"Let me put that in perspective. How would your ratings be if $75 million were spent against you?" Pelosi asked. "Because I'm an effective leader, because we got the job done on health care and wall street reform and consumer protections, the list goes on. They know that I'm the person that can attract the sources both intellectual and otherwise to take us to victory because I have done it before."

Earlier today, Democrats voted 129-68 to defeat a measure spearheaded by Pelosi's opponents that would have delayed the leadership election until Dec. 8.

"I think this was a very, very important process for the caucus to go through," Rep. Peter Fazio, D-Ore., told reporters after the vote today. "I feel we had more meaningful discussions in the last two days about rank-and-file members."

Despite Big GOP Win, Names of House Leaders Not Expected to Change

Majority Leader Steny Hoyer was elected the Minority Whip, the Democrats' second-ranking post in the House. Hoyer was unoppsed, while Rep. James Clyburn, the current House Majority Whip, was nominated by Pelosi to serve as the Democrats' first Assistant Leader. Clyburn had initially expressed his intent to run for minority whip, but seems to have backed off after Pelosi brokered a deal with the South Carolina Democrat to retain his rank in the party and stay on as "assistant leader."

Democrats also elected a caucus vice chairman, and the Democrats' top spot on the House Budget Committee, ranking member. Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Maryland, had announced his intention to seek that post after serving for four years as the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the past two years serving simultaneously in the Democratic leadership as Assistant to the Speaker.

ABC News' Huma Khan contributed to this report.

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