Kevin McCarthy Becomes Speaker Of The House On 15th Ballot


Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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Republican California Rep. Kevin McCarthy became the 55th Speaker of the House in an early Saturday morning vote, after five of his staunchest GOP critics voted “present.”

McCarthy garnered 216 votes on the 15th and final ballot, while incoming House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York received all 212 Democratic votes. Reps. Andy Biggs and Eli Crane of Arizona, Bob Good of Virginia, and Matt Rosendale of Montana voted “present” after opposing the Californian on the previous 14 ballots. Reps. Lauren Boebert of Colorado and Matt Gaetz of Florida flipped to “present” on the 14th ballot.

Republican North Carolina Rep. Patrick McHenry initially moved to adjourn the lower chamber until Monday after the 14th ballot, but Republicans flipped their votes to stay after the holdouts signaled they would no longer fight McCarthy’s ascension to the gavel.

With a speaker elected, members can be formally sworn in and the House can vote on a rules package. McCarthy and his team reached an agreement with 14 of his GOP opponents on a rules package that adds Freedom Caucus members to the Rules Committee, institutes a one member motion to vacate the chair, and freezes the Fiscal Year 2024 budget at 2022 levels. (RELATED: Here’s Why 15 Republicans Flipped Their Support To Kevin McCarthy)

Some GOP members have expressed concern about a budget freeze’s impact on military spending. Republican Texas Rep. Tony Gonzalez has already announced he will oppose the rules package.

“We don’t want to go back to sequestration. That would be very damaging to our military in a very dangerous world,” Republican Texas Rep. Michael McCaul, the incoming chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told the Daily Caller. “That’s something we’re currently discussing right now.”

The 2023 speaker vote is the longest since 1859, and the fifth-longest in American history.