Hakeem Jeffries Image Credit: ShutterStock

Hakeem Jeffries Becomes First Black Party Leader in House of Representatives

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Hakeem Jeffries made history this week by becoming the first Black party leader in the House of Representatives.

Jeffries lost the vote on Tuesday due to the House Democrats being in the minority this Congress, but it was still a celebratory moment for Jeffries and the Black community.

“Today, Hakeem’s leadership style is quite simple: spread love. It’s the Brooklyn way,” California Democrat Pete Aguilar said while nominating the Brooklyn native. “Madam Clerk, a Latino, is nominating for leader of this chamber a Black man for the first time in our history.”

Jeffries, 59, served as a House manager during Trump’s first impeachment. He racked up 212 votes, at least nine more than McCarthy, and only a few short of the numbers the next speaker needs. Jeffries also won all Democratic votes, in a speaker battle, for the first time since Pelosi did in 2007.

Katherine Clark, 59, of Massachusetts, leads alongside Jeffries as the Democratic whip, and Pete Aguilar, 43, of California, is the chairman of the caucus.

House Republicans currently have a narrow majority in the 118th Congress, making it incredibly difficult for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to round up enough votes to win the gavel and succeed Rep. Nancy Pelosi as House speaker. The GOP is divided in their support of McCarthy. Their frustrations were even shared by President Joe Biden, who commented on the prolonged process to reporters outside the White House.

Tuesday was the first time in a century that the House failed to elect a Speaker on the first ballot.

“It’s a little embarrassing it’s taking so long, and the way they are dealing with one another,” said Biden.

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