Wall Street Times

Kevin McCarthy becomes the US House Speaker

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Kevin McCarthy was voted in as the House of Representatives speaker after heated debates between Republicans that almost turned into fights.

Even though Mr. McCarthy’s party had the most votes in the room, it took 15 rounds of voting for him to win the job.

It happened after a dramatic campaign on the House floor to get party rebel Matt Gaetz to vote for Mr. McCarthy failed.

Late Friday, six holdouts gave in, including the Florida Congressman.

Earlier, when things were getting heated in the chamber, Mr. Gaetz and Rep. Mike Rogers, who supported Kevin McCarthy, almost got into a fight. The Alabama congressman had to be stopped by his colleagues as he yelled and poked Mr. Gaetz with his finger.

The Speaker sets the House’s agenda and runs the legislature’s business. The person in this job is next in line to become US president after the vice president.

Mr. McCarthy told reporters that former President Trump helped him get the last votes he needed.

US President Joe Biden told Mr. McCarthy that he was happy that he had won and was looking forward to working with the Republican Party.

Republicans have already said they will look into the family business of Vice President Joe Biden and how he runs the government.

In the 12th round, Mr. McCarthy changed the minds of 14 Republicans who hadn’t voted for him yet, so they did. Then, on the 13th vote, a 15th rebel did the same thing.

After the 13th ballot, Mr. McCarthy told reporters that he would “have the votes” to become Speaker in the next round.

But the California representative still needed 217 votes to win the prized gavel. So even though the 14th ballot was chaotic and exciting, he didn’t win.

Some of the rebels were members of the Freedom Caucus in the House. They say Mr. McCarthy isn’t conservative enough to lead them as they try to stop President Joe Biden’s plans.

Kevin McCarthy has made a number of deals with the rebels, including giving them a seat on the powerful rules committee, which decides how bills are debated in the chamber.

He also agreed that only one House member would be enough to start a vote on whether or not to get rid of the Speaker. So the Republican coalition could easily fall apart even if Mr. McCarthy won.

Ryan Zinke, a politician from Montana, was the last to vote. When he did, the House floor erupted in applause because it was clear that McCarthy had finally won.

Mr. McCarthy gave hugs and signed autographs for other representatives, but the Democrats were completely quiet on their side of the room. No one who was a democrat cheered.

Senior members of the Democratic Party said that McCarthy gave power to the most extreme people in his party. They compared the standoff to the riot on Capitol Hill two years ago when Trump supporters stopped Joe Biden from being sworn in as president.

And Virginia Representative Don Beyer talked about how angry Republicans were after the 14th count.

The Democrats in the minority kept voting for Hakeem Jeffries of New York, who was the first black person to lead a party in Congress.

On Friday, Kevin McCarthy had more votes than Mr. Jeffries for the first time.

He said one of his main goals was to “waste money in Washington.”

Around 2:00 local time on Saturday morning, 14 hours after the gavel rang at noon, the lawmakers started to leave the Congress.

The last time the lower chamber of Congress voted this many times to choose a speaker was in the years leading up to the Civil War in 1860. Then, they had to go to the polls 44 times.

In November’s midterm elections, the Republicans won the House by a smaller margin (222 to 212) than most people expected. Democrats still run the Senate, though.

What did Kevin McCarthy give up for the race?

Right now, Kevin McCarthy is the Speaker of the House of Representatives. He won after 15 votes, a vote at midnight, and almost getting into a fight in the sacred chambers of Congress.

The California congressman got the remaining 20 Republicans to support him or at least not openly oppose his bid for the Speaker’s gavel by pleading with them, twisting their arms, and poking them with his finger.

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But getting those stubborn Republicans on board wasn’t easy. Because of this, Mr. McCarthy had to make promises and important concessions that limited his power and gave conservatives in the House of Representatives more influence.

Opinions expressed by The Wall Street Times contributors are their own.