Washington, Jan 7 (PTI) Republican Kevin McCarthy was elected Speaker of the US House of Representatives in a historic post-midnight 15th ballot on Saturday, which elevates him to a powerful position in the chamber and is expected to bring an end to political paralysis The country has seen it for days.
McCarthy, 57, replaced Democrat Nancy Pelosi, 82, who lost her majority in the House after the Nov. 212 seats.
Read also | US House Speaker Election Result 2023: Republican Kevin McCarthy Elected As Speaker in 15th Round of Votes.
McCarthy defeated 52-year-old Hakeem Sekou Jeffries 216 to 212 in the 15th round of voting just after midnight.
The Republican was able to secure a majority from the lawmakers present only after six rebels from his party voted in, reducing the magic number from 218 to 215 votes.
Read also | Japan: Jetstar flight makes emergency landing at Chubu Centrair International Airport after bomb threat.
After the fifth longest running in history, McCarthy became the 55th Speaker of the House of Representatives. He won the gavel after 15 rounds of voting, making it the longest speakership run. The longest ballot in U.S. history took place in 1855, with 133 ballots held over two months.
Congressman Matt Gates, one of McCarthy’s fiercest critics and opponents, declined to vote for McCarthy in the 14th and 15th rounds. But he switched his vote from opposing McCarthy to being present, as did five other Republican lawmakers.
In the 14th round, after some last-minute negotiations on camera, McCarthy walked up to Gates and asked him to vote. Some angry verbal exchanges between McCarthy and Gates supporters ensued.
In the 14th ballot, Congressman Richard Hudson pulled his party colleague Mike Rogers as he confronted Gates.
In the previous 13 rounds of voting — two of which were held earlier in the day — McCarthy had faced some frustrating and awkward moments as he was opposed by 20 lawmakers from his own party, Most of them come from the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus. It was only in the 12th and 13th rounds that a dozen Republican opponents changed their votes.
“Of the more than 50 speakers of the House, 15 are in McCarthy’s situation: Multiple elections are needed to win the Speaker,” NBC News said, reflecting the historic and unprecedented nature of this year’s House speaker election. There have only been four House speaker races so far in the past.
As the powerful Speaker of the House of Representatives, McCarthy will be in a key position, playing a key role in determining national policy, including those related to the budget. In this position, McCarthy is also the third successor after President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
McCarthy, who represents California, previously served as House Minority Leader. He has vowed to launch multiple investigations into President Biden and his administration.
The 118th Congress has five Indian-Americans serving in the House of Representatives. They are all from the Democratic Party – Dr Ami Bera, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Ro Khanna, Pramila Jayapal and Shri Thanedar.
In the 14th ballot, they both voted for Jeffries.
At the same time, Jeffries made history by becoming the first black congressman to lead a party in Congress.
The New York congressman will lead Democrats in the House of Representatives, succeeding Pelosi, who served as speaker in the last congressional session.
Jeffries’ inauguration marked the end of an era and the beginning of a new one for Democrats.
“I just look forward to the opportunity to do the best thing for as many people as possible, as long as I have the opportunity to do so and be able to operate at the highest level,” he previously told CNN.
The dramatic consequences of not electing a Speaker are very real. The House cannot conduct any business, including the swearing-in of new members, until a speaker is selected.
Without a speaker, lawmakers cannot form committees, advance legislation or participate in intelligence briefings.
Friday’s standoff coincided with the second anniversary of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, when supporters of then-President Trump stormed the building to prevent Congress from authorizing the 2020 presidential election in favor of Joe Biden.
(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a Syndicated News feed, the content body may not have been modified or edited by LatestLY staff)