Kevin McCarthy has been chosen as the new Speaker of the US House of Representatives following contentious arguments that nearly resulted in physical altercations between Republicans.
Despite his party having a majority in the parliament, it took Mr. McCarthy 15 rounds of voting to gain the position.
The dramatic lobbying campaign to get party dissident Matt Gaetz to vote for Mr. McCarthy took place live on the House floor before it happened.
The congressman from Florida was one of six skeptics who caved late on Friday.
Rep. Mike Rogers, a backer of Mr. McCarthy, and Mr. Gaetz had previously engaged in heated exchanges in the chamber and nearly exchanged blows. The congressman from Alabama yelled and pointed his finger at Mr. Gaetz, and his colleagues had to physically detain him.
Congressman Mike Rogers was physically restrained over the Speaker vote, according to the media caption.
The Speaker controls legislative action and establishes the House’s agenda. After the US vice president, the position is second in line for the presidency.
Following his confirmation, Mr. McCarthy expressed the following on Twitter: “After this week, I hope one thing is abundantly clear: I will never quit up. And I’ll never stop fighting for you, the people of America.”
According to Mr. McCarthy, former President Trump assisted him in winning the decisive votes. He told reporters, “I don’t believe anyone should deny his influence.”
He was there for me from the start, calling both me and other people, the man claimed.
US President Joe Biden praised Mr. McCarthy for his victory and expressed his eagerness to work with the Republican Party.
He stated, “We need to govern in a way that puts the needs of the American people above everything else. The American people demand that from their leaders.
Republicans have already promised to start looking into Mr. Biden’s government and family business dealings.
In a stunning change of events, Mr. McCarthy was successful in convincing 14 Republican holdouts to vote for him in the 12th round of voting. The thirteenth ballot was followed by a fifteenth rebel.
McCarthy asserted to reporters that he would “have the votes” to win the speakership in the subsequent round after the 13th voting was called off.
The California congressman once again lost on the 14th ballot, this time falling three votes shy of the 217 votes required to capture the coveted gavel.
Members of the House Freedom Caucus were among the dissidents, and they contend that Mr. McCarthy is not conservative enough to lead them as they strive to thwart Democratic President Joe Biden’s plan.
Mr. McCarthy has made a number of concessions to the rebels, including a position on the powerful rules committee that determines how legislation is discussed in the chamber.
The Republican alliance might easily splinter once more even after Mr. McCarthy’s success because he also agreed to lower the bar for calling a vote on whether to remove the Speaker to only one House member.
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The House floor erupted in cheers as Ryan Zinke, a lawmaker from Montana, cast the final vote, signaling that Mr. McCarthy had finally won.
McCarthy gave other lawmakers hugs and autographs while the Democratic side of the room remained utterly silent. No democrats cheered.
Senior Democratic Party legislators compared the standoff to the riot on Capitol Hill precisely two years ago by Trump supporters who disrupted Mr. Biden’s certification as president and accused Mr. McCarthy of handing control to a radical wing of his party.
Congressman Eric Swalwell posted on Twitter that “insurrectionists failed to take over the Capitol two years ago.” “Kevin McCarthy allowed them to seize control of the Republican Party tonight.”
Don Beyer, a congressman from Virginia, also mentioned the irate Republican reactions after the 14th count.
He called it “unsettling” that this procedure ended with threats of violence in the House Chamber on this day of all days. “Although it may not have affected the outcome, that is not how the affairs of the people should be handled. Long after this session is over, it’s likely that people will recall a gloomy and somber moment.”
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, House Democratic Leader, is hugged by Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy after receiving the gavel.
SOURCE OF IMAGE: REUTERS
Mr. McCarthy finally hugged House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries after receiving the Speaker’s gavel.
The minority Democrats had persisted in supporting their leader, Hakeem Jeffries of New York, the first black person to ever head a political party in Congress.
The first day that Mr. McCarthy’s vote total really exceeded Mr. Jeffries’s was Friday.
That was easy, eh?, Mr. McCarthy joked in the opening of his acceptance speech. He listed a number of Republican policy goals, such as reducing costs, safeguarding the US-Mexico border, and combating what he called a “woke brainwashing.”
He stated that stopping “wasteful Washington spending” was one of his major priorities.
Around 2:00 local time (07:00 GMT) on Saturday, 14 hours after the gavel initially rung at midday, the MPs started to leave the Congress.
The lower chamber of Congress has not voted this many times to choose a speaker since 1860, during the lead-up to the American Civil War. There were 44 rounds of voting back then.
Republicans took control of the House in November’s midterm elections, although by a narrower margin than many had predicted—222 to 212. The Senate is still run by Democrats.