The US parliament on Saturday elected Republican Kevin McCarthy as Speaker after 15 historic ballots.
After four days of lobbying and facing opposition from members of his party (Republican Party), who the US media nicknamed the ‘Never Kevins’, Mr McCarthy clinched the highly envied seat with 216 votes; putting him ahead of his competitor, Hakeem Jeffries, a democrat who got 212 votes.
The new Speaker’s emergence came at a price including allowing any member of parliament to move for his removal from office.
Other compromises made by Mr McCarthy, according to CNN, include moving 12 appropriations bills individually. Instead of passing separate bills to fund government operations, Congress frequently passes a massive year-end spending package known as an “omnibus” that rolls everything into one bill.
Conservatives rail against this, arguing that it evades oversight and allows lawmakers to stick in extraneous pet projects.
He also agreed to more Freedom Caucus representation on committees, including the powerful House Rules Committee. Also, lawmakers will have seventy-two hours to review bills before they come to floor.
An investigative committee will be created to probe the “weaponisation” of the federal government; and restoring the Holman rule, which can be used to reduce the salary of government officials.
While many argue that Mr McCarthy’s compromises could end up making him a weak leader in one of the strongest political seats, AP argues that he could also be emboldened as a survivor of one of the more brutal fights for the gavel in US history.
“Not since the Civil War era has a speaker’s vote dragged through so many rounds of voting,” AP said.
McCarthy as speaker
In a tweet after his emergence, he tweeted “I hope one thing is clear after this week: I will never give up. And I will never give up for you, the American people.”
In his speech Saturday morning after he emerged, the hard work begins, he said, adding that his ultimate responsibility is not to his party, or the congress but to the US – “our country.”
The new Speaker said it was time for the parliament to be a check and provide balance to President Joe Biden’s policies.
As part of his plans for his tenure, Mr McCarthy intends to win the economic competition with China by bringing back jobs that were taken by the latter.
“As for the Chinese Communist Party, we will create a bipartisan select committee on China to investigate how to bring back the hundreds of thousands of jobs that went to China and then we will win this economic competition,” he said.
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