McCarthy new chairman of the US House of Representatives after election marathon

The Republican candidate Kevin McCarthy has been sworn in as the new chairman of the US House of Representatives after a historic four-day voting marathon and an inner-party dispute that lasted hard until the end. In his acceptance speech on Saturday night, McCarthy promised he would “pass legislation to meet the country’s challenges.” US President Joe Biden warned after the vote that it was now time to “govern responsibly”.

McCarthy named the “wide open border in the south”, the government’s energy policy, which he called “America last”, and the “woke indoctrination in our schools” as the primary challenges. The term “woke” describes “being awake” to racist and discriminatory tendencies in a society.

The 57-year-old politician from the US state of California demanded that Congress “speak with one voice” when it came to “long-term challenges” such as national debt and “the rise of the Chinese Communist Party”.

The office of Speaker is the third highest in the United States governmental hierarchy, after the President and Vice President. McCarthy succeeds Democrat Nancy Pelosi in the post.

In the midterm elections in November, the Republicans won a narrow majority in the House of Representatives. In the first eleven rounds of elections for the chairman of the House of Representatives, 20 ultra-right Republicans voted against McCarthy, who consider him too moderate and question his loyalty to ex-President Donald Trump.

McCarthy made progress on Friday after making extensive concessions to the defectors, but again failed to win a majority in the 12th, 13th and 14th rounds of voting. In the 14th round of voting, he was only one vote short of the election.

Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida voted “present” in the vote just before midnight, denying McCarthy the victory. This was followed by turbulent scenes in the plenary hall: McCarthy went to Gaetz and confronted him.

During the exchange of words, Gaetz pointed the finger at McCarthy, who finally turned to leave. Alabama Rep. Mike Rogers had to be restrained when he threatened to lunge at his Republican colleague from Florida.

With McCarthy finally elected, parliamentary work in the newly constituted Chamber of Congress can now begin. The last time a process for the election of a chairman lasted longer than the current one was in 1856.

The Republicans are expected to make it much more difficult for President Biden to govern because they can block all reform projects. They can also initiate numerous parliamentary investigations into Biden and his government.

After McCarthy’s election, Biden said he was “ready to work with Republicans if I can.” However, the voters “made it clear” that they “expect the Republicans to be just as willing to work with me,” emphasized the US President. It’s time to “make sure we put the interests of American families first,” he added.

However, Democrats and some of McCarthy’s supporters fear he has made radical political commitments to his far-right critics that will render the House of Representatives ungovernable.

According to unconfirmed reports, McCarthy has agreed to hold government spending at 2022 levels, which would imply a $75 billion cut in military spending. Defense policy hardliners fear a resulting weakening of Washington’s position towards Russia and China.

Other MPs complained that McCarthy had promised the defectors prestigious and influential committee posts. It is also said that in exchange for their votes, the rules should be changed so that the chairman has fewer powers and can be voted out more easily.

Democrats predicted McCarthy’s compromises would make him the most powerless speaker in recent history.


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