House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy has won the Speakership of the United States of America’s House of Representatives.
Of the 418 votes cast in the 15th ballot, McCarthy (R-CA) got 216 votes in his favour, 212 votes were cast for DNC leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), while 6 representatives voted present.
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The 216 votes was lower than the bare majority of 218 votes that was needed to win the vote, however this was sufficient because of the six “present” votes.
The U.S. House of Representatives had failed to elect a new speaker after four days and 14 votes sending the chamber to a historical 15th vote. This marked the longest the chamber had gone without a leader in a century, the last time being during the U.S civil war.
While all 212 Democrats had unanimously backed the House Minority Leader Hakeem Jefferies for each vote, McCarthy had to wrestle to garner sufficient votes from the 222 Republicans in the House, due mostly to a bloc of far right Republicans who either voted against him or voted “present.”
In the end, no Republican voted against McCarthy, which was the closest thing to GOP unity seen all week.
Taking the anti-McCarthy votes off the table capped a week in which McCarthy was able to chip away at the 20 Republicans who opposed him, thanks in large part to negotiations that will dramatically reshape the way the House is run. Some of the most conservative members of the House said they got virtually everything they wanted out of the talks and started to break for McCarthy on Friday morning.
Now that McCarthy has been elected speaker, his first job will be to swear in the other 433 members of Congress, who have been trapped in limbo as members-elect since Tuesday, when the 118th Congress first opened.
CNBC reported that McCarthy’s victory required him and his allies to make extraordinary concessions to a small bloc of far-right holdouts, many of whom had refused to support his speaker bid for months.
The report went on to state that these included changes to House rules that empowered the House Freedom Caucus, a group of ultra conservative Republicans who have earned a reputation for rejecting consensus positions.
Fox News reported that;
- McCarthy agreed to allow a single lawmaker to make a motion to elect a new speaker, returning to the way the House ran for decades before that practice was eliminated under former Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
- He agreed to votes on term limits and the adoption of a budget resolution that balances the budget in 10 years, and a cap on fiscal year 2024 spending at FY 2022 levels.
- McCarthy agreed to reject any negotiations on spending with the Senate until the Senate passes its own spending bills.
- He also agreed not to increase the debt limit without spending cuts or other fiscal reforms, to set up a committee to examine the weaponization of government against U.S. citizens, and to ensure no bills are brought up on the floor until at least 72 hours passed.
- He further agreed to give three members of the House Freedom Caucus three seats on the House Rules Committee, which sets the terms of debate for all legislation headed to the House floor.
Republicans who were holding back their votes until the deal was done praised it as a series of changes that will beat back the excessive spending and regulation that have defined the first two years of the Biden administration.
“We are negotiating a historic conservative victory to finally stop reckless SPENDING and DEBT from crushing our children & grandchildren,” Rep.-elect Mary Miller of Illinois tweeted Friday. “We will ensure a Republican House cannot do what Senate Rs did when they passed the disastrous $1.7 TRILLION omnibus! We must STOP BIDEN!”
Once all the new members are sworn in, the House will move to approve the new package of rules that McCarthy negotiated.
Nnamdi Maduakor is a Writer, Investor and Entrepreneur