image still of Trump impeachment debateTrump impeachment vote is underway. Every representative is making their case for or against the articles of impeachment. Every one of them is addressing the "Madam Speaker".

But what I see is that Speaker Nancy Pelosi is not sitting on the chair -- instead someone else. Why is that? Or is this a different speaker for this purpose? If so, who is she?


2 Answers 2


"Madam Speaker" is not Rep. Pelosi, but Rep. Diana DeGette, a Democrat from Colorado, who is serving as speaker pro tempore and presiding over the US House of Representatives for the debate on the impeachment of President Trump.


  • 2
    Where is Nancy Pelosi?
    – Burt
    Dec 19, 2019 at 1:44
  • 2
    @Burt She just came in after the debate was over
    – Up-In-Air
    Dec 19, 2019 at 1:48
  • @Burt during the "aftershow" commentary on CNN last night, they reported that Pelosi had been on the House floor with her caucus for much of the debate.
    – Kevin Troy
    Dec 19, 2019 at 21:02
  • 1
    @Burt It means she had other things to do, so someone else (presumably with less pressing duties) presided in her place.
    – ceejayoz
    Dec 19, 2019 at 22:09
  • 13
    @Burt she was sitting with other Democrats on the floor while they listened to the debate and (most likely) had sidebar discussions. Essentially, she was playing the role of leader/coach to her party, which isn't delegable the way the role of "gavel-wielder" is.
    – Kevin Troy
    Dec 20, 2019 at 0:39

Rules of the House: https://naturalresources.house.gov/imo/media/doc/116-House-Rules-Clerk.pdf

I 8(a): The Speaker may appoint a Member to perform the duties of the Chair. Except as specified in paragraph(b), such an appointment may not extend beyond three legislative days.

... and that's usually exactly what happens. The Speaker wields the gavel on special occasions but on an average day delegates that duty to an underling. While impeachment qualifies, and I would not have been surprised to see her at the podium, she may have been busy whipping votes during the debate.

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