US House Speaker Stalemate Ends: After 15 Rounds of Voting, Kevin McCarthy Seals Deal

Last Updated: January 07, 2023, 12:39 IST

Washington, United States

Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) wields the Speaker’s gavel after being elected the next Speaker of the US House of Representatives in the US Capitol in Washington (Image: Reuters)

Republican leader Kevin McCarthy was elected as US House Speaker on Friday evening after 15 rounds of voting and late night drama

Republican leader Kevin McCarthy is the new US House Speaker. He was chosen for the top job after he managed to quash a revolt led by far-right Republicans on late Friday night. McCarthy persisted through four days and fifteen rounds of voting to win the US House speakership race.

Following the selection of McCarthy, Republicans on the House floor chanted “USA! USA!” and embraced McCarthy. Now the US House can begin its session and start swearing in new members who have been waiting for a week for the chamber to formally reopen and begin the 2023-24 session.

The path was not easy for Kevin McCarthy as he lost the 14th round by one vote. House Republicans Colorado and Texas also raced to the Capitol Hill to vote for McCarthy. Ken Buck of Colorado could not vote in the previous sessions due to ill health and Wesley Hunt of Texas was with his newborn son and wife. Both McCarthy allies arrived on time to vote for the Speaker nominee, the Guardian reported.

He convinced congressman Scott Perry and 15 other holdouts to stand by him while making extraordinary concessions, like allowing a single member to call for a vote on ousting the sitting speaker, in order to secure his speakership bid.

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The Associated Press and the Guardian said in their reports that despite the victory, McCarthy will emerge as a weak speaker and there are chances that passing bills and legislations could be arduous.

Conceding to demands of allowing one member to call for the Speaker’s ousting is one such example. In the upcoming session, it could be tough for the US House to advance legislation related to government spending or hike the debt ceiling.

The long delay also meant that the Republican party remains deeply divided as moderates, right-leaning and far-right leaders vying for supremacy. The difference was visible on the floor of the US House when Republican Mike Rogers of Alabama charged at Florida far-right Republican Matt Gaetz before another Republican, Richard Hudson, restrained him.

“Stay civil!” someone shouted, the Associated Press said in its report.

McCarthy then won the 15th round of voting with a slim majority, winning 216 votes. House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries secured the support of all the members of his caucus with 212 votes. The New York congressman won all the ballots with 212 votes.

Jeffries congratulated McCarthy after he won the 15th ballot.

There were still six from the ‘Never Kevin’ brigade, who voted present, lowering McCarthy’s tally.

(this is a developing story, more details being added)

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