Kevin McCarthy elected speaker of the House of Representatives
After days of impasse, Republicans have finally reached a deal to hand Kevin McCarthy the speakership of the House of Representatives. However, House Democrats have accused McCarthy of ceding power to an extremist wing of his party.
California Representative Eric Swalwell took to Twitter to express his concerns, writing: “Two years ago insurrectionists failed to take over the Capitol. Tonight Kevin McCarthy let them take over the Republican Party.”
Pennsylvania Representative Brendan Boyle also commented on the deadlocked vote, saying it showed a “completely dysfunctional House GOP majority with an emasculated Speaker”.
Virginia Representative Don Beyer expressed concern over the angry scenes that followed the failed 14th vote, writing, “Unsettling that this process ends in threats of violence in the House Chamber, on this of all days… Maybe it didn’t determine the outcome, but that is no way to conduct the people’s business. A dark and sobering moment will probably be remembered long after this session ends.”
Of the 428 votes cast, McCarthy received 216, while Democrats’ Hakeem Jeffries received 212. House Clerk Cheryl Johnson announced, “Therefore, the Honorable Kevin McCarthy, having received a majority of votes cast, is duly elected Speaker of the House of Representatives.”
The Republican side of the House erupted in applause, with representatives chanting “USA! USA!” However, some original holdouts, including Matt Gaetz and Lauren Boebert, did not stand or clap.
Democratic President Joe Biden extended pro forma congratulations to the new Republican Speaker, though Republicans have already pledged to launch investigations into Biden, his administration, and his family’s business dealings.
In a statement, Biden said, “The American people expect their leaders to govern in a way that puts their needs above all else, and that is what we need to do now… As I said after the midterms, I am prepared to work with Republicans when I can and voters made clear that they expect Republicans to be prepared to work with me as well… Now that the leadership of the House of Representatives has been decided it is time for that process to begin.”