Republicans choose House Speaker in 15th ballot, Biden praises police and “patriotic” Republicans

In last November’s midterm elections, prominent Trump-backed deniers of the 2020 election result were defeated and the predicted “red wave” of Republican election victories failed to materialize. Media commentators then proclaimed a “victory for democracy” and a “return to normalcy” in American politics. However, the events of Friday, the second anniversary of the January 6, 2021 coup attempt, unequivocally shattered all these illusions.

Friday night, Republicans narrowly elected Kevin McCarthy Speaker of the House.

Previously, McCarthy’s appointment in the 14th ballot had failed because of Matt Gaetz from Florida, one of the most staunch supporters of the January 6 coup, who had nominated Trump as Speaker of the House the day before. Gaetz voted “present” and thus denied McCarthy the necessary votes, so that another ballot was necessary.

Only after feverish negotiations behind the scenes with the fascist Gaetz was McCarthy elected after midnight in the 15th vote. The last time so many votes were needed to elect the Speaker of the House of Representatives was before the Civil War.

Ahead of the vote, McCarthy, himself a hand in Trump’s failed coup, had made a series of concessions that will vastly strengthen the grip of the fascist right on the work of Congress and fuel brutal attacks on the social conditions and democratic rights of the working class.

Republican Representative Kevin McCarthy of California (right) talks to Republican Andrew Clyde of Georgia during the 13th round of voting in the House of Representatives on January 6, 2023. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) [AP Photo/Alex Brandon]

McCarthy’s opponents included the key players in the conspiracy whose goal was to overturn the 2020 presidential election and establish a presidential dictatorship under Trump: Andy Biggs and Paul Gosar (Arizona), Matt Gaetz (Florida), Lauren Boebert (Colorado), Scott Perry, Pennsylvania; and Bob Good, Virginia. They will now have power in the House of Representatives out of proportion to their numbers or popular support.

CNN published a list of concessions and promises McCarthy made in the secret negotiations, including:

  • A reduction in the minimum number of MPs required to petition to remove the speaker of the House of Representatives. It is currently 50 percent of the Republican faction. It has already been reduced to five MEPs in previous negotiations, and now a single MEP can introduce it.
  • The far-right House Freedom Caucus will be far more numerous in key committees like the Rules Committee.
  • MPs will have additional opportunities to introduce amendments in the House of Representatives.
  • The Political Action Committee, under McCarthy’s leadership, will not interfere in open primary elections in safe Republican counties (where the PAC has in some cases run against far-right candidates).

While these procedural changes are far-reaching in themselves, they are also reportedly tied to agreements for significant cuts in budget spending and federal taxes, amounting to an abolition of all social reforms since the 1930s, ie social counter-revolution.

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