House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). (Photo Reuters)
McCarthy has been elected Speaker of the House and second in line to the Presidency after one of the longest battles in history.
It’s very rare that we see someone not be elected Speaker on the first round. But after one of the closest victories in the House in history in November, we have now seen one of the longest battles for Speakership in history.
McCarthy’s nomination was held up by a group of 20 freedom caucus members who were demanding reforms in the party, such as changing the rules to make it easier to remove the Speaker, and giving the Freedom Caucus members more seats on Rules, Appropriations and other committees.
After offering what appears to be many concessions to the Freedom Caucus, McCarthy was able to convince enough late Friday night to narrowly push him over the threshold on a party line vote. McCarthy was elected with 216 votes to Democrat nominee Hakeem Jeffries’ 212 and 6 members voting ‘present’ out of protest.
This is the first time since 1923 that a Speaker hasn’t been selected on the first ballot and has put the 118th congress in 5th place in terms of the number of rounds that was required to select a Speaker.
The longest fight for Speaker required 133 rounds in 1855 and lasted two months.
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