The Winner Takes it All: Kevin McCarthy is Elected Speaker of the House

Maddie Whisenant, News Editor

While the process was long and tedious, after four days and 15 different votes, Republican Kevin McCarthy was finally elected Speaker of the House Jan. 7. The four days without a speaker was the longest the country has gone without one in a century. With this absence, no new members could be sworn in, no committees could be started and no legislation could take place.
The House was set to adjourn Jan. 6 after McCarthy failed again to be elected speaker for the 14th time after many voters changed their decisions and abstained from voting for him. After obtaining 216 out of 432 votes, the House was set to return for a 15th vote which McCarthy eventually won with a final total of 216 out of 428 votes. “I never thought we’d get up here,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy struggled to get votes as several Republicans voted for other Republican candidates. Tension was in the air as McCarthy went to negotiate with Republicans Matt Gaetz and Lauren Boebert; both representatives could not be convinced to support him despite his numerous efforts. Several other Republicans including Gaetz, Boebert, refused to vote for McCarthy as well.
Ultimately, the six agreed to vote “present,” which was not an official vote for any candidate, but just for attending the meeting. This allowed McCarthy the ability to win the majority. In the end McCarthy made several concessions to prominent lawmakers to forcefully remove a speaker from office and gained their support.
In the final stretch, McCarthy took the position with 216 votes while House Minority leader Hakeem Jeffries had 212 Democratic votes.
“Our debates will be passionate and they will never be personal,” McCarthy said to Jeffries in his first speech as Speaker. Now that the House finally has a leader, Representatives can return to their work and 434 members of Congress can be sworn in after waiting for a new leader to be elected.