27 Chinese Warplanes Enter Taiwan’s Air Defence Zone: Taipei

A picture of the Chinese flag.
The Chinese flag.

 

Twenty-seven Chinese warplanes flew into Taiwan’s air defence zone on Wednesday, Taipei said, as US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made her controversial visit to the self-ruled island that Beijing considers its territory.

“27 PLA aircraft… entered the surrounding area of (Republic of China) on August 3, 2022,” the defence ministry said in a tweet.

AFP

How Is China Punishing Taiwan For The Pelosi Visit?

Visiting US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (C) arrives at the Parliament in Taipei on August 3, 2022. (Photo by Sam Yeh / AFP)

 

China has launched a volley of trade curbs against Taiwan in addition to live-fire military drills, as US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the island despite Beijing’s warnings.

China considers Taiwan its territory and tries to keep it isolated internationally, opposing countries from maintaining official contacts with the self-ruled democratic island.

After Pelosi became the highest-profile elected US official to visit Taiwan in 25 years, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Wednesday the response will be “resolute, forceful and effective”.

Here are the measures China has announced so far:

Military exercises

Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Hua Chunying gestures during a press conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing on August 3, 2022. US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi landed in Taiwan late on August 2, defying a string of increasingly stark warnings and threats from China that have sent tensions between the world’s two superpowers soaring. (Photo by Noel Celis / AFP)

 

The first response was announced swiftly: live-fire military drills in zones encircling Taiwan — at some points, within just 20 kilometres (12 miles) of the island’s shore.

The drills will include “long-range live ammunition shooting” in the Taiwan Strait, which separates the island from mainland China and straddles vital shipping lanes.

Taiwan’s defence ministry described the drills as “an irrational move to challenge the international order”.

And the island’s Mainland Affairs Council, which sets the government’s China policies, accused Beijing of “vicious intimidation”.

Beijing cannot afford to be seen as toothless after ramping up the rhetoric ahead of Pelosi’s arrival, analysts said.

“It will be imperative for the Chinese regime to underline its nationalist credentials to its domestic audience,” said James Char, an associate research fellow at Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies.

“Beijing cannot be seen as weak by its own people.”

Trade curbs

This picture taken by Taiwan’s Central News Agency (CNA) shows US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (L) attending a meeting with Taiwan’s Vice Speaker of Parliament Tsai Chi-chang at the Parliament in Taipei on August 3, 2022. (Photo by CNA / AFP)

 

China on Wednesday also imposed curbs on the import of fruit and fish from Taiwan.

Its customs authorities said it would suspend some citrus fruit imports over alleged “repeated” detection of excessive pesticide residue.

It also banned the import of certain fish from the island, pointing to the discovery of the coronavirus on packages.

These bans came a day after Taipei’s Council of Agriculture said China had cited regulatory breaches in suspending the import of Taiwanese goods including fishery products, tea and honey.

It is not the first time Beijing has aimed at Taiwan’s agricultural products — it banned pineapple imports in March 2021, citing the discovery of pests. However, the move was widely seen as politically driven.

The moves are part of a “common pattern for Beijing”, said Even Pay, an agriculture analyst at consultancy Trivium China.

More disruptions in the agricultural and food trade can be expected in the coming days, she added.

“When diplomatic or trade tensions are running high, Chinese regulators typically take an extremely strict approach to compliance… looking for any issues that can be used to justify a trade ban,” she told AFP.

The Chinese commerce ministry said in a separate notice that it would “suspend the export of natural sand to Taiwan” from Wednesday, without providing details.

Natural sand is generally used for producing concrete and asphalt, and most of Taiwan’s imported sand and gravel comes from China.

 Bans on ‘secessionists’

Beijing has ramped up pressure on Taiwan since President Tsai Ing-wen took office in 2016, as she views the island as a de facto sovereign nation and not part of “one China”.

The Chinese State Council’s Taiwan Affairs Office said Wednesday that it will punish two Taiwan organisations with close links to “die-hard” secessionists — the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy and International Cooperation and Development Fund.

Enterprises that have donated to the groups, such as Speedtech Energy and Hyweb Technology, will also be prohibited from working with Chinese firms.

-AFP

US Warships Cruising Near Taiwan As Pelosi Defies China

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (C) being welcomed by Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (L) after landing at Songshan Airport in Taipei, Taiwan on August 2, 2022. Taiwanese Foreign Ministry / Handout / Anadolu Agency
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (C) being welcomed by Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (L) after landing at Songshan Airport in Taipei, Taiwan on August 2, 2022. Taiwanese Foreign Ministry / Handout / Anadolu Agency

 

Several US warships were cruising in waters near Taiwan on Tuesday, US military officials said, amid Chinese anger over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s controversial visit to the island Beijing claims as its territory.

As China announced it would hold live-fire military drills in the Taiwan Strait in response to Pelosi’s visit, the US Navy’s Seventh Fleet said the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan was operating in the Philippine Sea, south of Taiwan.

The US Navy published images of the usually Japan-based Ronald Reagan conducting maneuvers with the cargo ship USS Carl Brashear on Sunday.

READ ALSO: Bin Laden’s Deputy Al-Zawahiri Killed In US Drone Strike

The Ronald Reagan was accompanied by the USS Higgins, a destroyer that is part of its strike group, a US Navy official said on condition of anonymity.

The aircraft carrier and its group are “on a routine operation in the Western Pacific,” a US official said on condition of anonymity.

Additionally, the amphibious assault ship USS Tripoli was operating east of Taiwan, the US Navy official said, confirming reports from the United States Naval Institute (USNI), a professional association with close ties to the Navy.

The Ronald Reagan and the Tripoli are both carriers of the latest generation F-35 fighter jets, according to the USNI.

US officials have sought to reassure Beijing that the positioning of these two ships in the region was not linked to Pelosi’s visit, who became the highest-ranking elected US official to visit the island since predecessor Newt Gingrich traveled there in 1997.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told CNN that Washington would make sure Pelosi had a “safe and secure visit.”

AFP

US House Speaker Pelosi Lands In Taiwan Despite China’s Warnings

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (R) being welcomed by Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (L) after landing at Songshan Airport in Taipei, Taiwan on August 2, 2022.
TAIWANESE FOREIGN MINISTRY / HANANADOLU AGENCYAnadolu Agency via AFP

 

United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi landed in Taiwan on Tuesday evening, defying a string of increasingly stark warnings and threats from China that have sent tensions between the world’s two superpowers soaring.

Pelosi, second in line to the presidency, is the highest-profile elected US official to visit Taiwan in 25 years and Beijing has made clear that it regards her presence as a major provocation, setting the region on edge.

Live broadcasts showed the 82-year-old lawmaker, who flew on a US military aircraft, being greeted at Taipei’s Songshan Airport by foreign minister Joseph Wu.

“Our delegation’s visit to Taiwan honours America’s unwavering commitment to supporting Taiwan’s vibrant Democracy,” Pelosi’s official Twitter account tweeted moments after she arrived.

She added her visit “in no way contradicts” US policy towards Taiwan and Beijing.

Pelosi is currently on a tour of Asia and while neither she nor her office confirmed the Taipei visit, multiple US and Taiwanese media outlets reported it was on the cards — triggering days of building anger from Beijing.

The People’s Liberation Army said it was on “high alert” and would “launch a series of targeted military actions in response” to the visit.

“Those who play with fire will perish by it,” Beijing’s foreign ministry added.

No need for ‘crisis’

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (C) being welcomed by Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (L) after landing at Songshan Airport in Taipei, Taiwan on August 2, 2022.
TAIWANESE FOREIGN MINISTRY / HANANADOLU AGENCYAnadolu Agency via AFP

 

China considers self-ruled, democratic Taiwan as its territory and has vowed to one day seize the island, by force if necessary.

It tries to keep Taiwan isolated on the world stage and opposes countries having official exchanges with Taipei.

In a call with US President Joe Biden last week, Chinese President Xi Jinping warned Washington against “playing with fire” on Taiwan.

While the Biden administration is understood to be opposed to a Taiwan stop, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Pelosi was entitled to go where she pleased.

“There is no reason for Beijing to turn a potential visit consistent with longstanding US policies into some sort of crisis,” he told reporters.

The last House Speaker to visit Taiwan was Newt Gingrich in 1997.

Kirby reiterated that US policy was unchanged toward Taiwan.

This means support for its self-ruling government, while diplomatically recognising Beijing over Taipei and opposing a formal independence declaration by Taiwan or a forceful takeover by China.

Moscow said it was “absolutely in solidarity with China”, calling the prospect of a Pelosi visit “pure provocation”.

China has refused to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and has been accused of providing diplomatic cover for the Kremlin by blasting Western sanctions and arms sales to Kyiv.

As Pelosi’s plane neared Taipei Chinese state media said advanced Su-35 fighter jets were crossing the Taiwan Strait. The brief report had no details on the timing or precise location of the crossing.

Taiwan’s military later released a statement denying that any Su-35s had crossed the Taiwan Strait.

All eyes on Taiwan

Pelosi left Kuala Lumpur Tuesday after meeting Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri and Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah.

So many people were tracking the US military plane ferrying her on FlightRadar that the website said some users experienced outages.

The plane took a circuitous route that studiously avoided the South China Sea — which Beijing claims — before heading up the east coast of the Philippines.

Press access around Pelosi has been tightly restricted and limited to a handful or short statements confirming meetings with officials.

Her itinerary includes stops in South Korea and Japan — but the prospect of a Taiwan trip had dominated attention.

Before her arrival, Taipei’s government had stayed silent on whether she would visit even as local media published reports showing her presence was all but guaranteed.

The capital’s famous Taipei 101 skyscraper was illuminated with the words “Speaker Pelosi… Thank You” on Tuesday night before her plane arrived.

‘Seek to punish Taiwan’

Taiwan’s 23 million people have long lived with the possibility of an invasion, but that threat has intensified under Xi, China’s most assertive ruler in a generation.

“Beijing shouldn’t get to decide who can visit Taiwan or how the US should interact with Taiwan,” Wang Ting-yu, a lawmaker from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, told AFP ahead of the visit.

“I think China’s open intimidation is counter-effective.”

Bonnie Glaser, director of the Asia programme at the US-based German Marshall Fund think tank, said the probability of Beijing choosing war was “low”.

“But the probability that… (China) will take a series of military, economic, and diplomatic actions to show strength & resolve is not insignificant,” she wrote on Twitter.

Taipei’s Council of Agriculture on Tuesday said China had suspended the import of some Taiwanese goods, including some fishery products, tea, and honey. The council said China cited regulatory breaches.

Pelosi’s potential visit has been proceeded by a flurry of military activity across the region that highlights how combustible the issue of Taiwan is.

Last week both Taiwan and China held live-fire drills.

-AFP

China Summons US Ambassador Over Pelosi’s Taiwan Trip

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (C) being welcomed by Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (L) after landing at Songshan Airport in Taipei, Taiwan on August 2, 2022. Taiwanese Foreign Ministry / Handout / Anadolu Agency
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (C) being welcomed by Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (L) after landing at Songshan Airport in Taipei, Taiwan on August 2, 2022. Taiwanese Foreign Ministry / Handout / Anadolu Agency

 

China summoned the US ambassador in Beijing Tuesday to rebuke him over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s “egregious” trip to Taiwan, state media reported.

Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng voiced “strong protests” over Pelosi’s visit to the democratic self-governing island, which China considers part of its territory, during his talk with Ambassador Nicholas Burns.

“The move is extremely egregious in nature and the consequences are extremely serious,” Xie was quoted as saying by China’s state news agency Xinhua. “China will not sit idly by.”

The trip by Pelosi, the highest-profile elected US official to visit Taiwan in 25 years, sent tensions soaring between the world’s two largest economies, with Beijing regarding it as a major provocation.

Xie said the United States “shall pay the price for its own mistakes” and urged Washington to “immediately address its wrongdoings, take practical measures to undo the adverse effects caused by Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan”, Xinhua reported.

Pelosi landed in Taiwan late Tuesday, defying a string of angry warnings from Beijing.

While the Biden administration is understood to be opposed to Pelosi’s Taiwan stop, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said in Washington she was entitled to go where she pleased.

China’s military said it was on “high alert” and would “launch a series of targeted military actions in response” to the visit. It announced plans for a series of military exercises in waters around the island to begin on Wednesday.

And Taiwan’s defence ministry said more than 21 Chinese military aircraft had flown on Tuesday into the island’s air defence identification zone — an area wider than its territorial airspace that overlaps with part of China’s own air defence zone.

“Taiwan is China’s Taiwan, and Taiwan will eventually return to the embrace of the motherland. Chinese people are not afraid of ghosts, pressure and the evil,” Xie told Burns, according to Xinhua.

There was no immediate comment from Washington.

US Will ‘Pay The Price’ If Pelosi Visits Taiwan, China Warns

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) holds her weekly news conference in the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center on April 29, 2022 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/AFP

 

China said Tuesday that the United States will “pay the price” if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visits Taiwan during her Asia trip.

Pelosi was in Malaysia on Tuesday, the second stop in a tour that has sparked rage in Beijing after reports of a potential Taipei visit.

China considers Taiwan its territory and has indicated through repeated warnings that it would view a Pelosi visit as a major provocation.

“The US side will bear the responsibility and pay the price for undermining China’s sovereign security interests,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a regular press briefing in Beijing.

American officials often make discreet visits to Taiwan to show support, but Pelosi would be a higher-profile visitor than any in recent history.

Reports of her plans have sent US-China tensions soaring.

In a call with US President Joe Biden last week, Chinese President Xi Jinping warned the United States against “playing with fire” on Taiwan.

And China’s ambassador to the United Nations, Zhang Hun, said Monday that such a visit would be “very much dangerous, very much provocative”.

While the Biden administration is understood to be opposed to a Taiwan stop, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Pelosi was entitled to go where she pleased.

“The speaker has the right to visit Taiwan,” he told reporters on Monday.

“There is no reason for Beijing to turn a potential visit consistent with longstanding US policies into some sort of crisis.”

Kirby cited intelligence that China was preparing possible military provocations.

He said Pelosi was travelling on a military aircraft and that while Washington did not fear a direct attack, it “raises the stakes of a miscalculation”.

Kirby reiterated, however, that US policy was unchanged toward Taiwan.

This means support for its self-ruling government, while diplomatically recognising Beijing over Taipei and opposing a formal independence declaration by Taiwan or a forceful takeover by China.

All eyes on Taiwan

Pelosi arrived in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday for meetings with the prime minister and the speaker of the lower house of parliament, Malaysian state news agency Bernama reported.

AFP journalists saw Pelosi coming out of a hotel in the Malaysian capital and entering an SUV. Her motorcade then departed under heavy security.

After Singapore and Malaysia, her itinerary includes stops in South Korea and Japan — but the prospect of a Taiwan trip has dominated attention.

Taipei has remained silent on the prospect of a Pelosi visit.

Premier Su Tseng-chang did not confirm the visit on Tuesday when asked by reporters but thanked Pelosi for her support.

Multiple Taiwanese media outlets carried comments from deputy parliament speaker Tsai Chi-chang saying Pelosi was “very likely” to visit in the coming days.

And the Liberty Times newspaper cited unnamed sources as saying she would land Tuesday night, then meet President Tsai Ing-wen the next day before departing in the afternoon.

Taiwan’s 23 million people have long lived with the possibility of an invasion, but the threat has intensified under Xi.

The island’s military on Tuesday said it was “determined” to defend it against increased threats by China over the potential Pelosi visit.

“The probability of war or a serious incident is low,” tweeted Bonnie Glaser, director of the Asia programme at the US-based German Marshall Fund think tank.

“But the probability that… (China) will take a series of military, economic, and diplomatic actions to show strength & resolve is not insignificant,” she added.

“Likely it will seek to punish Taiwan in myriad ways.”

AFP

US Archbishop Bans Pelosi From Communion Over Abortion Rights Support

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) holds her weekly news conference in the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center on April 29, 2022 in Washington, DC.  Chip Somodevilla/ AFP

 

 

 

The archbishop of San Francisco told US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi that she is barred from receiving communion over her support for abortion rights, the archdiocese said in a letter released Friday. 

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone said he in the letter that he had previously asked Pelosi to “publicly repudiate your advocacy for abortion ‘rights’ or else refrain from referring to your Catholic faith in public and receiving Holy Communion” — or face the consequence of being denied access to the rite.

“As you have not publicly repudiated your position on abortion, and continue to refer to your Catholic faith in justifying your position and to receive Holy Communion, that time has now come,” the archbishop said.

“I am hereby notifying you that you are not to present yourself for Holy Communion and, should you do so, you are not to be admitted to Holy Communion, until such time as you publicly repudiate your advocacy for the legitimacy of abortion and confess and receive absolution of this grave sin in the sacrament of Penance,” he added.

Pelosi, a lifelong Catholic from California, said she would work to pass a law to confirm women’s continued right to abortions after the leak of a draft Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe v Wade, the 1973 ruling that guaranteed access to the procedure nationwide.

Pelosi’s office made no immediate comment to AFP after the archbishop’s letter was made public.

Communion — the rite in which the faithful ritually consume bread and wine blessed by a priest — is a central rite in the Catholic Church.

Pelosi Backs Zelensky In ‘Fight For Freedom’ On Kyiv Visit

A handout photo released by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Service on May 1, 2022, shows President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky (R) presents the Order of Princess Olga to US Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi. (Photo by STRINGER / UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE / AFP)

 

US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi voiced support for Ukraine’s “fight for freedom” at a meeting with President Volodymyr Zelensky on a visit to Kyiv, US and Ukrainian officials said on Sunday.

“We believe that we are visiting you to say thank you for your fight for freedom… Our commitment is to be there for you until the fight is done,” Pelosi told Zelensky, according to a video from the Ukrainian presidency.

Zelensky tweeted: “Thank you to the United States for helping protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our state”.

“The US is leading strong support for Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression,” he said.

The trip by a Congressional delegation had not been previously announced.

“Our delegation proudly delivered the message that additional American support is on the way, as we work to transform President Biden’s strong funding request into a legislative package,” Pelosi’s office said in a statement.

US President Joe Biden last week proposed a huge $33-billion (31-billion euro) package for arming and supporting Ukraine.

READ ALSO: Nancy Pelosi Meets Zelensky On Unannounced Visit To Kyiv – Officials

Biden also outlined proposed new laws to allow using luxury assets stripped from Russian oligarchs to compensate Ukraine for the destruction wreaked by the invading Russians.

“When we return to the United States, we will do so further informed, deeply inspired and ready to do what is needed to help the Ukrainian people as they defend democracy for their nation and for the world,” Pelosi’s statement continued.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin visited Kyiv last month.

AFP

Nancy Pelosi Meets Zelensky On Unannounced Visit To Kyiv – Officials

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) holds her weekly news conference in the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center on April 29, 2022, in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/AFP
CHIP SOMODEVILLA / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

 

US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi voiced support for Ukraine’s “fight for freedom” at a meeting with President Volodymyr Zelensky on a visit to Kyiv, US and Ukrainian officials said on Sunday.

“We believe that we are visiting you to say thank you for your fight for freedom… Our commitment is to be there for you until the fight is done,” Pelosi told Zelensky, according to a video from the Ukrainian presidency.

Zelensky tweeted: “Thank you to the United States for helping protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our state”.

“The US is leading strong support for Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression,” he said.

Read Also: Nine Detained In Connection With China Building Collapse

The trip by a Congressional delegation had not been previously announced.

“Our delegation proudly delivered the message that additional American support is on the way, as we work to transform President Biden’s strong funding request into a legislative package,” Pelosi’s office said in a statement.

US President Joe Biden last week proposed a huge $33-billion (31-billion euro) package for arming and supporting Ukraine.

Biden also outlined proposed new laws to allow using luxury assets stripped from Russian oligarchs to compensate Ukraine for the destruction wreaked by the invading Russians.

“When we return to the United States, we will do so further informed, deeply inspired and ready to do what is needed to help the Ukrainian people as they defend democracy for their nation and for the world,” Pelosi’s statement continued.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin visited Kyiv last month.

Pelosi Hints Infrastructure Delay As Congress Begins Huge Week

US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks alongside members of the House Democratic Women’s Caucus and other Democratic members of Congress, as they hold a press conference promoting the Build Back Better agenda on the steps of the US Capitol in Washington, DC, September 24, 2021. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP)

 

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has expressed confidence that a massive infrastructure bill will pass this week but acknowledged it might not get a Monday vote as planned, with fellow Democrats warning critical work remains to meet the party’s deadlines.

Democrats have been scrambling to hammer out a landmark plan to upgrade the nation’s roads and bridges, but are also under immense pressure to finalize a $3.5 trillion public investment package and fund the government to avert a looming shutdown — all by September 30.

The week is among the most critical of President Joe Biden’s tenure, with opposition Republicans digging in against his Build Back Better program that would invest in climate change policy, lower childcare and education costs for working families, and create millions of jobs.

But Pelosi, despite her confidence that the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that has already cleared the Senate with bipartisan support will pass the House of Representatives “this week,” hinted at potential quicksand ahead.

“I’m never bringing a bill to the floor that doesn’t have the votes,” the top Democrat in Congress told ABC Sunday talk show “This Week,” asked about whether she will bring the infrastructure bill to the floor Monday as previously agreed.

“It may be tomorrow — if we have the votes,” she said.

“You cannot choose the date,” she added. “You have to go when you have the votes, in a reasonable time. And we will.”

Pelosi told her Democratic colleagues in a letter Saturday that they “must” pass both of Biden’s huge spending bills, along with legislation that keeps the federal government operating into the next fiscal year beginning October 1.

“The next few days will be a time of intensity,” she wrote.

Irresponsible beyond words’

Pelosi is running into not only a buzzsaw of opposition from Republicans; Democratic progressives and moderates have made clear they need to see quickly exactly what goes in the $3.5 trillion bill.

“The votes aren’t there, so I don’t think she’s going to bring it” to the floor Monday, congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, who chairs the House progressives, told CNN’s “State of the Union,” regarding the infrastructure bill.

House progressives have repeatedly warned that they won’t green-light infrastructure without Build Back Better.

In order to get the historic spending bill to Biden’s desk, Democrats are using a process called “reconciliation”, which allows certain budget-related legislation to pass the Senate with a simple majority rather than 60 votes.

But moderate Senate Democrats Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema have expressed deep reservations about the huge price tag.

With the Senate evenly split 50-50, their votes would be critical to passing the bill — something that Pelosi, herself a master vote-counter, is keenly aware of.

While all Democrats “overwhelmingly” support Biden’s grand vision, it was “self-evident” that the final price tag for Build Back Better will be lowered, Pelosi said.

She also stressed the importance of funding the government to avoid a looming shutdown, and suspending the debt ceiling to allow federal agencies to make loan repayments.

The House passed a bill Tuesday that would accomplish both goals.

But Senate Republicans have balked overextending the Treasury Department’s borrowing authority this time around, a position Pelosi described as “irresponsible beyond words.”

Pelosi Brands Trump ‘Clear And Present Danger,’ Says ‘He Must Go’

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced that the House will proceed with articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump at the Speaker’s Balcony in the U.S. AFP

 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday demanded the impeachment of Donald Trump in the final week of his presidency, calling him a “clear and present danger” to America for inciting an “armed rebellion” at the US Capitol.

“He must go. He is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love,” the most powerful Democrat in Congress told the House chamber during the debate over whether to impeach Trump for an unprecedented second time, for “incitement of insurrection.”

“Since the presidential election in November, an election the president lost, he has repeatedly lied about the outcome,” sought to sow doubt about the election process, and “unconstitutionally sought to influence state officials” to overturn Democrat Joe Biden’s election win, Pelosi said.

Democrat Pelosi Narrowly Re-Elected As US House Speaker

WASHINGTON, DC – NOVEMBER 13: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks during her weekly press conference at the U.S. Capitol on November 13, 2020 in Washington, DC. Speaker Pelosi spoke about honoring veterans, the coronavirus, and President-elect Joe Bidens victory over President Donald Trump in the 2020 Presidential Election. Samuel Corum/Getty Images/AFP

 

Nancy Pelosi, the only woman to serve as US Speaker of the House, was narrowly re-elected to the position Sunday in a deeply divided new Congress that convened in the final weeks of Donald Trump’s presidency.

Pelosi, 80, faced a scare when five fellow Democrats defected and voted “present” or for someone else during the floor vote.

But the woman who is third in line to the presidency secured her fourth — and perhaps final — non-consecutive term as House speaker by earning 216 votes versus 209 for Republican leader Kevin McCarthy.

In a symbolic gesture beginning the 117th Congress, McCarthy formally handed the speaker’s gavel over to Pelosi, who raised it in triumph as Democrats cheered and applauded.

“We begin the new Congress during a time of extraordinary difficulty,” Pelosi told the chamber, noting the toll of 350,000 dead and 20 million infected by Covid-19.

“Our most urgent priority will continue to be defeating the coronavirus,” a masked Pelosi said. “And defeat it, we will.”

The vote took hours, as lawmakers were required to vote in groups of several dozen due to social distancing rules imposed during the coronavirus pandemic.

Pelosi has been Trump’s chief nemesis in Congress, and the two clashed bitterly over the past two years, particularly as she leveled impeachment charges against the president.

Trump was impeached in December 2019, but the Senate acquitted him early in 2020. His successor, Joe Biden, takes office on January 20.

With Pelosi scrambling to keep her post, it was a handful of progressive lawmakers and members-elect who have been critical of her leadership but ultimately voted for her on Sunday.

Among them was Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, one of the most high-profile Democrats in Washington, and incoming lawmaker Cori Bush, who is the first African-American woman to represent Missouri in Congress.

There are normally 435 members of the House, but just 427 votes were cast Sunday as a few congressmen-elect are in quarantine due to Covid-19 and a tight House race in New York has yet to be formally decided.

One congressman-elect from Louisiana, Luke Letlow, died of complications from Covid-19 last week, days before he was due to be sworn in.

That leaves Democrats with one of the slimmest House majorities in two decades, 222 to 211 with two vacancies, as they navigate the remaining few weeks of Trump and carry into the Biden presidency.

On a day that was anything but conventional, Republican Chip Roy interrupted the swearing-in process to ask that the delegations from the six swing states where Trump has contested the election results not be seated Sunday as House members.

Pelosi dispensed with the effort by holding a vote that affirmed her right to swear in all members.