US House of Reps finally has a Speaker, much bruised and beaten

Washington, Jan 7 (IANS) The US House of Representatives finally got a Speaker, past 1 a.m. on Saturday.
Republican Kevin McCarthy won in the 15th round of a historically stalemated election in the House of Representatives to become its 55th Speaker, putting him second in line to the presidency, after the Vice President.
“I’m glad it’s over,” McCarthy told reporters later.
The Speaker of the US House of Representatives is elected by the newly-elected 435 members of the chamber. No Speaker’s election had gone beyond the first vote since 1923 and none had gone for as long since the American Civil War (1861-1865).
McCarthy went through a torturous five-day election opposed by a determined group of Republican lawmakers, who numbered 20 at one stage. A handful of them held out till the end but voted “present”, lowering the bar to allow him to clear the board with 216 votes – against the 218 needed, his Democratic rival Hakeem Jeffries ended with 212, the votes of all his fellow Democrats.
It was past 1 a.m.
“As Speaker of the House my ultimate responsibility is not to my party,” McCarthy said in a speech in the House. “Our responsibility is to our country.”
McCarthy, 57 is a member of the House of Representatives from California, same as Nancy Pelosi, the Democrat he is succeeding.
His victory has come at a steep price as he made once concession after another to the Republican holdouts to secure their support – including a new rule that will allow any one member of the Republican conference to call for a vote to oust him. Pelosi has called it a “shrinking Speakership”.
The five-day election exposed a bitterly divided Republican conference,which holds the House with a narrow majority. In November 8, 2022 midterm elections, Republicans won the House by a weaker-than-expected margin of 222 to 212. The Democrats retained control of the Senate.
The holdouts were all staunch supporters of former President Donald Trump but they resisted his calls till the end to rally behind McCarthy, who was also endorsed by the former President.

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