15th time’s the charm


Wikimedia Commons

McCarthy eventually earned 216 votes in the 15th round winning the coveted position of Speaker of the House

 In the 2022 midterm elections, the Republicans took the majority in the House of Representatives. This allows the Republican party to have more power in proposing bills, getting laws passed, and for a house member from their party to have a higher chance of winning speaker of the house. 

  Congressman Kevin McCarthy representing California was the leading Republican nominee for speaker. For Democrats, New York Congressman Hakeem Jeffries was their front runner. 

  McCarthy has been a congressman since 2006, and he earned the role of House Republican Leader in 2018. Jeffries has been serving in congress since 2012, and one of his most impressive accolades was providing Brooklyn with 21.9 billion dollars to help provide food for the hungry, improve medical centers, and support organizations to better their neighborhoods in the 2022 Community Project Funding process.  

  If all 435 members vote, the nominee needs 218 votes to win as speaker. In the first round of voting, McCarthy garnered 203 votes, while Jefrees had 212. These numbers stayed the same for Jefrees, while McCarthy was down to 200 votes by the 11th round. Many of the Republican votes against McCarthy came from a group of lawmakers known from the House Freedom Caucus. This group is made up of very far right members, and are deniers of the validity of the 2020 election, believing former president Donald Trump was the winner. McCarthy and his team promised many of the members changes and concessions in return for their vote for McCarthy.

  With the concessions made, by the 12th round McCarthy was able to win 13 more votes, making it 213 against 211.  The 13th round had McCarthy at 214 and Jefrees at 212, until McCarthy eventually earned 216 votes in the 15th round and won the position.

  What does this mean for Congress? Well, for starters, many of the concessions McCarthy presented indicated a lot of power that could potentially backfire on Republicans. For example, only one congress member has to bring a “motion to vacate”, which means the removal of the speaker of the house. Congress would have to vote on the removal, and a simple majority could remove McCarthy.  

  McCarthy also agreed to a voting on congressional terms. The house limit would be 3 terms (6 years), and 2 terms for the senate (12 years). However, Mccarthy has been in congress for 16 years, so this bill could potentially end his time in congress.

  The senate is still in a Democratic majority, so seeing how the two will work together is sure to keep Americans on their toes.