Kevin McCarthy, after moments of chaos and in ballot number 15, is elected president of the lower house

Washington D.C. – In another crazy night and in ballot number 15, the Republican Kevin McCarthy (California) won the presidency of the House of Representatives tonight.

It took McCarthy five days (the final vote came early Saturday) and concessions to 20 Republican ‘rogues’ over the running of the House to win the job, after Republicans gained control of the legislative body (222 -212) in the November 2022 elections.

He got 216 votes in the final round, compared to 212 for Democratic Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (New York).

The last six conservative ‘mavericks’ voted present – Matt Gaetz (Florida), Lauren Boebert (Colorado), Eli Crane (Arizona), Andy Biggs (Arizona), Bob Good (Virginia) and Matt Rosendale (Montana) -, reducing the universe of votes.

Thus, instead of the 218 required to win a vote among 434 elected congressmen, the threshold was 215, a number that McCarthy exceeded by one.

“I hope something is clear. I will never give up,” McCarthy said, after continued humiliation at the hands of a group of ‘rogue’ conservatives from his party.

McCarthy, in his message, stated that “our system is made to have checks and balances. It is time to have control and provide some balance to the public policies of the president (Biden) ”.

In this sense, the new speaker maintained that the first bill – which has no future in the Senate – will be aimed at defunding the hiring of 87,000 employees of the federal Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and that one of the first public hearings it will be on the southern border, the one that is proposed to “secure”.

Before going to the 15th ballot, the Republican leadership had called for a recess until Monday noon, when a stunned McCarthy saw him fall just one vote away from winning the 14th round.

McCarthy himself closed in on two of his main opponents, Gaetz and Boebert, when he realized he was going to be beaten by the smallest difference.

There were even moments of tension, when Republican Mike Rogers (Alabama) had to be put up with while arguing with Gaetz, who maintained for days that he would not vote for McCarthy. Gaetz, however, was wrong in predicting that McCarthy would never be elected speaker.

Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene (Alabama) said President Biden phoned some of the dissenters.

“I think that when I return I will have the votes. It’s not how you start, but how you end,” McCarthy said before a recess in the afternoon, when Republicans were waiting for the return to Washington DC of two of his colleagues, Wes Hunt (Texas), who had just been father, and Ken Buck (Oklahoma).

Hunt and Buck returned in time for the evening vote.

“He is relentless. This man is not giving up,” said Republican Patrick McHenry (North Carolina), one of his best friends and allies, nominating McCarthy for president. Bruce Westerman, who will chair the Natural Resources Committee, proposed McCarthy in the final round.

Biden congratulates you

In a statement, President Joe Biden congratulated McCarthy. “Jill and I congratulate Kevin McCarthy on his election as Speaker of the House. The American people expect their leaders to govern in a way that puts their needs above all else, and that’s what we must do now,” he said. President Biden.

Jeffries, in a message before handing over the gavel to McCarthy, said there was a transition from a majority “of achievement to one of ambiguity.”

“We believe in a country with a peaceful transition of power…Our diversity is a force,” said Jeffries, who led an event on the steps of the Capitol Friday morning to commemorate the second anniversary of the insurrection against Congress carried out by mobs of supporters of then-President Donald Trump, in an effort to slow down the electoral college vote count on the November 2020 election.

Seven years ago, McCarthy also unsuccessfully sought the House presidency, following the resignation of John Boehner. This time he had to agree to take power away from the presidency, through whatever rules the House can pass, to get the necessary votes.

It is the first time in 164 years that 15 votes were needed to elect a new speaker. In 1859 – shortly before the American civil war -, it was necessary to vote 44 times.

Elected to Congress for the first time in the November 2007 election, McCarthy was the majority leader from January 2014 to 2019. This session, McCarthy, elected from the 23rd district, has been the House minority leader. Previously, he was a state representative in California.

Prior to winning the 15th vote, he had made a significant advance in two votes on Friday afternoon, receiving the support of 15 Republicans who were part of the group of conservative rebels who rejected him, demanding changes to the operating rules. of the lower house.

McCarthy got 216 votes on the 14th ballot for speaker, to 212 for Democratic Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (New York. Two other Republicans – Andy Biggs (Arizona) and Jim Jordan (Ohio) – received two votes. Although Gaetz and Boebert had already voted, present, he was then one vote away from winning the position.

In a conference call with his Republican Conference, McCarthy, the majority candidate for president, said Friday morning that he had reached preliminary agreements with a group led by Chip Roy (Texas), who has been one of the most vocal advocates for changes in the rules that allow for more debate and presentation of amendments in the floor.

Follow the Chamber session here:

Upon arriving at the Capitol on Friday, McCarthy affirmed – when asked by journalists about the negotiations aimed at making new concessions to his opponents – that he was going to demonstrate “progress” and generate surprises.

Republicans Roy, Andy Harris (Maryland), Dan Bishop (North Carolina), Josh Breechen (Oklahoma), Michael Cloud (Texas), Andrew Clyde (Georgia), Byron Donalds (Florida), Paul Gosar (Arizona), Andy Ogles (Tennessee), Scott Perry (Pennsylvania), Keith Self (Texas), Victoria Spartz (Indiana), Anna Paulina Luna (Florida), Ralph Norman (South Carolina) and Mary Miller (Indiana) changed their votes in favor of McCarthy.

Donalds had endorsed McCarthy on the first two ballots. He was later nominated multiple times for the position. Spartz had initially voted for McCarthy, but later changed, advising that further negotiations were needed to reach an agreement.

Seeking to win support among conservative “rebels,” McCarthy agreed to a rule that would allow a single congressman to provoke a vote to declare the House presidency vacant.

At a time when Republicans hold a slim majority and still can’t agree on who should lead their party, such a change in House rules will be a continuing threat to the speaker, Democrats and Republicans have agreed.

As part of the agreements with a group of dissidents, McCarthy said he was willing to secure several seats for the conservative Freedom Caucus on the influential Rules Committee – which sets the debate rules for the floor -, be members of the conservative “Freedom Caucus”. .

Another commitment is aimed at reducing federal spending to the level of fiscal year 2022, which means cutting about $1.47 trillion (trillions in English).

Rosa de Lauro, who will be the Democratic minority leader on the Appropriations Committee, says that the proposed Republican rule to reduce federal tax spending to fiscal year 2022 levels, what it does is “kill” the appropriations process for in 2024 and “guarantee a partial shutdown” of the federal government.

McCarthy, to win the support of dissidents, has also promised to vote on measures to limit the terms in Congress of federal legislators and tighten security at US borders.

Perry said he voted for McCarthy in a “good faith” effort, after “a framework agreement” was reached. “We are in a Reagan moment: ‘trust but verify.’ The devil is in the details, and we’ll take our time to make sure it’s right, not easy. One way or another, the status quo must go,” he had previously said.

Democratic Congressman-elect Maxwell Frost (Fla.) sees this crisis of the Republican majority as simply a power struggle.

“Kevin McCarthy wants more power for himself, and the Freedom Caucus wants more power for them. We should all be concerned about what they plan to use that power for,” Frost said.

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