Chaos ahead as McCarthy makes huge concessions to the extremists
As tensions in Congress reached a breaking point, Republican Kevin McCarthy won the 15th vote to become the new US Speaker.
Following the midterm elections in the autumn, McCarthy’s party had won control of the House, the US lower chamber, with a narrow 222-212 margin.
The Speaker is typically elected as a formality, with the head of the largest party a lock for the position.
However, it didn’t occur until the 15th round of voting due to recent divisions within the Republican Party.
As a small group of right-wing hardliners held out, Mr. McCarthy earned 216 votes on the fourteenth ballot, just one short of the required total for victory.
On the 15th ballot, he was declared the winner by a margin of 216-211.
Only five members of his own party withheld their votes, not supporting Mr. McCarthy as leader but also not voting for another candidate, allowing him to win with support from fewer than half of the House members.
US President Joe Biden praised him for his accomplishments and stated that, when possible, he is “willing to work with Republicans.”
However, with Mr. McCarthy vowing subpoenas and investigations, the Republican party is now poised to turn the battle against the President and the Democrats.
A tense incident followed four days of voting that continued into a 14th round. Mr. McCarthy was seen leaving the front of the room to confront Rep. Matt Gaetz, who did not support him.
One of the final six Republicans to cast a “present” vote in the 14th and 15th rounds was Mr. Gaetz.
In essence, he indicated that he was present for the voting in the House but did not support a candidate for Speaker.
After Mr. McCarthy approached him, they exchanged heated words as many Republican members surrounded them.
Rep. Mike Rogers, who voted in favor of Mr. McCarthy, attempted to lunge in the direction of Mr. Gaetz’s seat but was restrained by other members.
Someone was heard shouting, “Stay civil.”
Another Mr McCarthy supporter, Rep. Richard Hudson, was also seen holding Mr. Rogers by the lips, but it was unclear what the dispute was about.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene was spotted in another occasion waiving her cellphone while on the phone with someone marked as “DT,” who was likely Donald Trump.
The Georgia GOP representative captioned the image she posted on Twitter, “It was the ideal phone call.”
The former president has regularly backed Mr. McCarthy for Speaker despite the fact that many of the renegade Republicans were Trump backers.
Despite Mr. McCarthy accepting many of the requests of his critics, a small number of far-right Republicans from the conservative Freedom caucus believed he was not conservative enough for the position.
The reintroduction of a long-standing House rule that would permit any one member to convene a vote to remove Mr. McCarthy from office is one of the most challenging proposals that Mr. McCarthy has agreed to.
That will significantly reduce the influence he will have when attempting to enact legislation on important subjects like government spending, raising the nation’s impending debt ceiling, and other potential disasters.
The Speaker is one of the most influential posts in US politics, and the number of failed votes last week was the greatest since 1859, two years before the American Civil War began.