U.S. House elects new speaker after historic deadlock

WASHINGTON: The U.S. House of Representatives elected Congressman Kevin McCarthy as speaker early Saturday morning after a historic deadlock...


WASHINGTON: The U.S. House of Representatives elected Congressman Kevin McCarthy as speaker early Saturday morning after a historic deadlock that kept the lower chamber from being fully functional days after the new Congress convened.

McCarthy, a California Republican, clinched enough votes to become House speaker in the 15th round of voting -- the longest contest in 164 years -- after a bitter fight with a group of hardline conservatives and 14 failed ballots.

It was the first time a House speaker -- who maintains order, manages its proceedings, and governs the administration of its business on the lower chamber's floor -- had not been elected on the first ballot in 100 years.

U.S. President Joe Biden, a Democrat, said earlier this week that it is "embarrassing for the country" not to have a fully functional Congress, the legislature of the federal government.

All House Democrats voted for Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, a Democrat from New York, making him the minority leader and the first African American lawmaker to run a party in either chamber of the U.S. Congress.

To flip Republican holdouts, McCarthy reportedly made a series of concessions, including a lower threshold to force a vote on ousting the House speaker and a floor vote on a border security bill. He also promised that efforts to raise the nation's debt ceiling must be paired with spending cuts.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, also a New York Democrat, responded to the alleged concessions after McCarthy's election, saying the proposals "will cause a government shutdown or a default with devastating consequences to our country."

"Speaker Kevin McCarthy's dream job could turn into a nightmare for the American people," Schumer said. "To get the votes, he surrendered to demands of a fringe element of the Republican party."

On Friday morning, House Democrats and reportedly only one Republican gathered on the steps of the Capitol, located at the eastern end of the National Mall in Washington, D.C., to mark the second anniversary of the mayhem on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6, 2021.

"The Jan. 6 insurrection shook our republic to the core," U.S. Congresswoman and former House speaker Nancy Pelosi said. "For many in the Congress and across our country, the physical, psychological, and emotional scars are still raw."

Two years ago, a large group of supporters of outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump violently stormed the Capitol and disrupted a joint session of Congress to affirm the results of the 2020 presidential election in which Biden won.

Some of the rioters chanted "Hang Mike Pence" while making their way into the Capitol. Pence, then U.S. vice president presiding over the procedure to formally verify Biden's victory, was rushed out of the building by Secret Service agents to a secure location.

Panicked lawmakers took shelter and crouched behind chairs in the House gallery after the chaos broke out and shocked the United States and the rest of the world.

Approximately 140 police officers were assaulted in the worst attack on the U.S. Capitol in more than 200 years, to which at least five deaths have been linked. Over 900 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the landmark complex.

At a ceremony in the White House on Friday, Biden warned that things like the Capitol riot "could happen again" as the United States faces "an inflection point" in its history.

-News Feed

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Local Glob: U.S. House elects new speaker after historic deadlock
U.S. House elects new speaker after historic deadlock
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