Republican Kevin McCarthy elected Speaker after 15 rounds of voting

January 9, 2023 admin

Over the weekend, the US House of Representatives elected Republican Kevin McCarthy as Speaker after 15 rounds of voting, the highest number of ballots for the speakership since 1859.

After making key concessions to his detractors, the congressman serving California’s 23rd district was able to convince enough members of his party to either support him or not directly oppose his bid for speaker, resulting in a winning margin of 216-211. Here are three of the most notable concessions McCarthy made:

1 McCarthy agreed to enable just one legislator to push “a motion to vacate”, which would trigger a vote on whether to remove the Speaker. Under McCarthy’s predecessor, Democrat Nancy Pelosi, a majority of either party had to agree to a motion to vacate for it to be offered on the House floor. It will now be much easier to depose the Speaker, thus threating the stability of McCarthy’s hold on power.

2 McCarthy agreed to give the hard-right Freedom Caucus three of the nine seats on the House Rules Committee, which determines the floor process for voting on a bill and which amendments are considered. The three Freedom Caucus members on the panel will have significant influence in the House to demand changes to legislation and block proposals that they disagree with.

3 The newly elected Speaker promised to hold a vote on a budget intended to cut spending to 2022 levels and balance the deficit in a decade. This has angered some Republicans who are fearing large cuts to defence spending. McCarthy’s commitment to fiscal restraints may also make it harder for the Republican-controlled House to successfully negotiate spending legislation with the Democrat-controlled Senate, increasing the likelihood of a government shutdown during McCarthy’s speakership.

Photo: Newly elected House Speaker Kevin McCarthy holds the gavel on Jan. 7, 2023 after he was elected on the 15th ballot after a four-day fight. (Alex Brandon/AP)