The US House of Representatives’ lower chamber came to a standstill for days due to savage Republican infighting until Republican leader Kevin McCarthy was elected as Speaker on Saturday.
McCarthy won the 15th round of voting, which lasted beyond midnight, defeating Hakeem Sekou Jeffries, 52 to 216. Now, he will succeed Democratic Party leader Nancy Pelosi, 82.
The worst level of Congressional dysfunction in more than 160 years was ended by McCarthy’s win on the fifteenth ballot. However, the problems he will confront in governing a small and highly divided majority were starkly exposed. McCarthy, as reported by Reuters, expressed his relief that the vote was done.
Six members of his own party abstained from voting, refusing to back McCarthy as a leader but also refusing to back a rival, enabling him to win with support from fewer than half of the House members.
McCarthy symbolically marked the end of President Joe Biden’s Democrats’ control of both chambers of Congress as he first received the gavel. We have constructed our system around checks and balances. In his inaugural address, McCarthy said, “It’s time for us to be a check and bring some balance to the president’s policies.”
Only after giving in to hardliners’ insistence that any lawmaker be allowed to request McCarthy’s dismissal at any time did McCarthy gain the gavel. When attempting to pass legislation on crucial problems like funding the government, raising the nation’s impending debt ceiling, and other crises that may develop, his authority will be significantly reduced as a result.
Voters made it plain that they expect Republicans to be willing to cooperate with Biden, who has stated that he is willing to work with them when he can. He declared, “It is time for that process to begin.” The leadership of the House of Representatives has been decided.
Following the fifth-longest campaign in history, McCarthy is chosen as the 55th Speaker of the House. After 15 rounds of voting, he was declared the victor of the longest speaker election in history. In 1855, 133 rounds of voting took place over the course of two months, making it the longest election in US history.