Kevin McCarthy elected speaker of the House, ending days of Republican chaos and division in Washington
McCarthy was finally able to broker a deal with his conservative holdouts after days of failed votes. But the victory celebrations may be short-lived.
Rep.-elect Kevin McCarthy was elected speaker of the House early Saturday morning, fulfilling a long-held ambition and ending the most chaotic selection of the House's leader in over a century.McCarthy clinched the speaker's gavel after 15 ballots and in the wee hours of the fifth day of voting. His victory was finally secured after days of struggle. At the start of Friday, McCarthy and his allies managed to flip more than a dozen votes to his side, injecting palpable momentum into a candidacy that was sorely lagging. Leaders then agreed to hold off final votes until Friday evening. House GOP leaders then scrambled to delay future votes until Monday before abruptly reversing and forcing an immediate 15th vote. --Josh Bergeron (URL) January 7, 2023McCarthy then finally prevailed.It was never supposed to go this way.Electing a speaker is normally very straightforward. Before this week, the House had gone an entire century without needing even a second ballot to secure its leader. McCarthy's victory consumed the most ballots since the end of the Civil War. Lawmakers in McCarthy's circumstances, carrying a party from the minority to the majority, virtually glide on the spirit of good feelings about retaking the majority. Faced with disappointing midterms, McCarthy had little margin for error. And after years of stern speakers, average lawmakers have grown restless from being cut out of talks surrounding major legislation. The victory celebrations may be short-lived. In order to secure his position, McCarthy agreed to a rules package framework that will cede significant power to conservative lawmakers who demonstrated for days that they owe nothing to the Californian. One of those concessions, per Politico's Olivia Beavers, would allow any single lawmaker to essentially call for a no-confidence vote and push McCarthy out of power. If lawmakers fail to do so, the US would default on its debt, almost assuredly sending domestic and international markets into a tailspin. The mere threat of breaching the debt ceiling in 2011 led to a historic credit downgrade during the Obama administration. The reality McCarthy will soon face is that leading a narrowly-divided chamber is incredibly difficult. But cutting any deal across the aisle could trigger a conservative revolt that could topple McCarthy.