Her motivation was closer to home, too.
"Being actively involved in politics at this level is really insatiable," Pelosi said. "There's so much more I want to do, I don't know how to get any more hours in the day. You can only sleep so less."
House Republicans reacted with derision.
"There is no better person to preside over the most liberal House Democratic caucus in history than the woman who is solely responsible for relegating it to a prolonged minority status," said Paul Lindsay, spokesman for the National Republican Campaign Committee. "This decision signals that House Democrats have absolutely no interest in regaining the trust and confidence of the American people who took the speaker's gavel away from Nancy Pelosi in the first place."
Pelosi's announcement was one of several throughout the day that would give more clarity to the leadership and direction of the next Congress. As in the House, senators re-elected their top leaders, Nevada Democrat Harry Reid and Kentucky Republican Mitch McConnell. Republicans elected Texas Sen. John Cornyn as the vote-wrangling whip, South Dakota Sen. John Thune as the GOP conference chairman, Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso as policy committee chairman and Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the party's campaign arm.
For Senate Democrats, Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin remains whip and New York Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York remains policy committee chairman. Washington Sen. Patty Murray will serve as secretary, leaving open the chairmanship of the Democrats' campaign committee. Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet was said by Democratic officials to be a leading contender for that spot.
Another question answered about the makeup of the next Congress: Newly elected Sen. Angus King, a Maine independent, announced that he will caucus with Democrats next year.