McCarthy finally wins the presidency of the US House of Representatives

US Representative Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., smiles after winning the 15th ballot in the House of Representatives on the fifth day of trying to elect a president and convene the 118th Congress in Washington, on January 7, 2023.

After 15 rounds of voting over five days and concessions to right-wing Republicans, California Rep. Kevin McCarthy was finally elected speaker of the US House of Representatives on Saturday.

President Joe Biden issued a statement congratulating McCarthy, saying, “I am prepared to work with Republicans when I can, and the voters have made it clear that they expect Republicans to be prepared to work with me, too.”

On Friday night, after the 14th ballot, there was a move to adjourn the House session until Monday, but that vote also failed after Republicans changed tack and decided on a 15th effort to elect a new Leader.

A group of 20 right-wing lawmakers have blocked McCarthy from previous votes because they believe he is not conservative enough.

In an unusual confrontation, McCarthy had exchanged words with Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida on the floor of the House after the 14th ballot because the congressman had voted ‘Present’ instead of casting the vote that would have given McCarthy the presidency.

US Representative Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., smiles after winning the 15th ballot in the House of Representatives on the fifth day of trying to elect a president and convene the 118th Congress in Washington, on January 7, 2023.

The Republican had never given any indication that he would drop out of the race to lead the House, which would also, under a provision of the US Constitution, make him second in line for the US presidency.

McCarthy, 57, had sought the position for years. Over the past few weeks, he has repeatedly met with his Republican opponents to secure their support.

However, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, warned in a statement that “McCarthy’s dream job could turn into a nightmare for the American people.” Schumer said that in order for McCarthy to get the necessary number of votes, he “had caved in to the demands of a fringe element of the Republican Party.”

Schumer said: “Kevin McCarthy’s concessions to extremists in his party make it that much more likely that the Republican-controlled MAGA House of Representatives will cause a government shutdown or bankruptcy with devastating consequences for our country. ”.

MAG is short for Make America Great Again (Make America Great Again), a phrase associated with former President Donald Trump, who has announced his intention to run for president in 2024.

Republicans hold a narrow 222-212 margin over Democrats in the new 118th session of Congress, with one current vacancy.

The Republicans who delayed the House speaker choice said they wanted to reduce the power of the president’s office and give grassroots lawmakers more influence over the creation and passage of legislation.

McCarthy agreed to several of the right-wing lawmakers’ demands, including allowing a single member to call a snap House internal election to vacate the presidency if he doesn’t approve of his legislative policies or the way he oversees the chamber.

He also promised them key committee assignments and House votes on some of their legislative priorities, such as imposing term limits on lawmakers and tougher border controls to stop undocumented immigrants from entering the United States through the southwest border with Mexico.

It’s been 100 years since neither a Republican nor a Democrat won the House presidency in the first round of voting.

The election of a president in the House of Representatives is the first order of business for the house when a new session of Congress opens. Without a president, the lawmakers, all newly elected or re-elected in last November’s national legislative elections, were unable to take the oath.

After receiving the winning number of votes for president, McCarthy swore in the 434-member House.

McCarthy replaces former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat who remains a member of the House. She cast her votes for Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, the new House Democratic minority leader. Every House Democrat voted for Jeffries on every ballot for president, but he had no chance of winning because no Republican chose to vote for him to help him reach a majority of 218.

Democrats, who have been locked in a 50-50 split with Republicans in the Senate for the past two years, gained a lead in national midterm elections nearly two months ago and will have a 51-49 majority there, counting on three independents working with Democrats

The new senators were sworn in on Tuesday.

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Written by Editor TLN

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