Washington, Jan 7 – Republican Kevin McCarthy was finally elected this Saturday as president of the United States House of Representatives after 15 votes, after convincing a sufficient number of ultra congressmen from his own party who refused to support him.
The abstention of six rebellious Republicans paved the way shortly after midnight for the election of McCarthy as speaker of the chamber with 216 votes, after four grueling days that came to an end today with this victory that put an end to the chaos experienced in the US Congress.
As in the previous vote and unlike the first thirteen, the Radical Republicans did not present any alternative candidates to McCarthy, who fought in this last round with the leader of the Democrats in the chamber, Hakeem Jeffries, who received 212 votes at the time. the same as in the previous rounds.
In this final vote, six ultra-republicans abstained, paving the way for McCarthy’s election, by reducing the number of votes he needed to be elected.
This latest round came after a penultimate one in which there were tense moments between McCarthy and the radical conservative Matt Gaetz, an ally of former President Donald Trump, who frustrated his election by deciding to abstain when the California legislator was close to victory with one vote to spare. vote.
According to The New York Times, Trump, who this week urged his supporters to support McCarthy, would have phoned Gaetz when he saw that the choice of the party apparatus’s candidate was in jeopardy.
McCarthy’s appointment ends a grueling and chaotic week in the US Capitol that began last Tuesday when, for the first time in a hundred years, the speaker of the House of Representatives was not elected on the first ballot due to having detractors within his own party.
Those detractors have been about twenty far-right congressmen, many of them loyal to Trump and members of the ultra-conservative Freedom Caucus group, who have not given their arm to twist until this Friday.
In votes 12 and 13 held on Friday morning, some of them have begun to support McCarthy, amid cheers from the rest of the congressmen for each step taken to unblock the situation.
And it is that without a president of the Lower House, the 118th Congress has not been able to start. The only option to elect him was to continue repeating voting until a candidate reached a majority, something that happened at the gates of the weekend.
To gain the support of the wayward Freedom Caucus, a group formed in 2015 by the most extreme Republicans -many of them members of the now extinct Tea Party- with the aim of pushing the Republican leadership to the right, McCarthy has had to do certain things. concessions, which have not been disclosed.
Private agreements related to a series of requests that the rebel Republicans had, such as the power to make a motion of no confidence against the speaker of the house, several chairs in the rules committee, that votes on border issues be guaranteed, the head in various subcommittees and have relevance within the Assignments Committee, one of the most powerful in the Chamber.
After McCarthy’s election, all congressmen will be sworn in and the new legislature will begin, which will last two years.
The president of the House of Representatives, known in English as “speaker”, is an important political figure whose functions include setting a large part of the legislative calendar, deciding which projects are voted on and when.
He will also be the third authority in the country, after the president of the United States, Joe Biden, and the vice president, Kamala Harris, who also chairs the Senate, and the second in the line of succession.
After the 15 votes, this unusual event in American democracy is closed, since the last time more than one vote was needed to elect the “speaker” was in 1923.
At that time the president of the Chamber was elected in a ninth vote, five less than those held on this occasion, but far from the sixty that had to be done in 1869.