Californians retained in House leadership

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Justin Ho/KPCC

Democrats retain Californians Nancy Pelosi and Los Angeles Democrat Xavier Becerra.

When US House members chose their leaders for the 112th Congress they offered no surprises. Californians are still front and center. Bakersfield Republican Kevin McCarthy moves up the ladder and will become majority whip. And a pair of California Democrats will stay on board.

House Democrats voted to retain Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco as their chief. The nation’s first female House Speaker will become the minority leader when more than 80 new Republican members take the oath of office on Jan. 5.

Pelosi bristled when someone asked why, after the loss of more 60 House seats, she’s the best person to head her party. She blamed the losses – and her popularity – on GOP campaign spending.

"How would your ratings be if $75 million were spent against you?"

L.A. Democrat Xavier Becerra retains his position as caucus vice chair.

He said House members offer strong support for Pelosi.

"Many of us believe that we are prepared to take this country to even greater heights," he said. "And many of us spoke very loudly that the person who could do that here in the House of Representatives for this Democratic caucus is a woman who is named Nancy Pelosi."

Pelosi says the Democratic agenda is clear: jobs, reducing the deficit, and “fighting for the middle class.”

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