U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) presides over the U.S. House of Representatives inside the House Chamber in this still image taken from video on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., May 10, 2019. U.S. House TV/Handout via Reuters
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – In another first for rookie congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the liberal Democrat from New York on Friday became the youngest woman to preside over the U.S. House of Representatives.
Sitting in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s chair as part of a routine rotation of House members, Ocasio-Cortez took her turn with the gavel and ran the chamber for about an hour. The duty is shared day-to-day by members of the House majority, currently the Democrats.
In the event, Ocasio-Cortez did not have a great deal to do. She presided over “special orders,” which are generally short speeches by House members at the end of the day’s legislative business, often on issues of concern in their districts.
Ocasio-Cortez, 29, called on members as they rose to speak, once or twice stumbling over their states of origin. “For what purpose does the gentleman from Ohio – um, from Illinois, excuse me, seek recognition?” she said as Representative Sean Casten, a fellow freshman Democrat, took the floor.
“That was my first time presiding. And it’s exciting. It’s certainly a view. I wish we could, I wish we were allowed to take photos,” she told reporters after the session.
Ocasio-Cortez describes herself as a Democratic socialist and is the most prominent member of a group of female Democrats elected to the House for the first time last November, bolstering the party’s liberal wing.
She has become a sensation on social media, drawing headlines for dance routines as well as championing the Green New Deal, a package of proposals to tackle climate change.
She is the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, representing New York’s 14th district in the Bronx and Queens.
(Reporting by Susan Cornwell; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Alistair Bell)