US House of Representatives: McCarthy is elected – and now?

Status: 07.01.2023 11:21 a.m

The night vote turned things around: McCarthy made it to the speaker with abstentions. The US President signaled a willingness to cooperate. What remains of these four days of chaos in the House of Representatives?

By Ralf Borchard, ARD Studio Washington

Kevin McCarthy made it, albeit very close. In the 15th ballot, after midnight local time, the time had come. The last dissenters on the party’s right fringe did not vote for him, but abstained. 216 votes for McCarthy were enough. Cheers from Republicans, hugs, beaming faces after Secretary Cheryl Johnson announced McCarthy’s election as Speaker of the House.

“He and his team deserve recognition”

After the 14th round of voting, there had been dramatic scenes. McCarthy was missing a single vote. There were heated debates in front of the cameras, at one point almost fisticuffs. But relief in the end: “He and his team deserve credit for negotiating this deal so quickly, considering where we were 24 hours ago,” Scott Jennings, longtime Republican adviser, told CNN about McCarthy’s negotiations with the party’s rebels right edge.

US President Joe Biden signaled his willingness to cooperate. “I’m willing to work with Republicans if I can,” the Democrat said. “It’s time to govern responsibly and make sure we put the interests of American families first,” he added.

McCarthy elected Speaker of the US House of Representatives

Stella Peters, ARD-Aktuell, daily news at 12:00 p.m., January 7th, 2023

One vote should suffice for a vote of no confidence

However, the price McCarthy is paying with the concessions to his faction’s right-wing wing is high. In the future, the vote of a single member of parliament should be enough to initiate a vote of no confidence against the speaker. McCarthy thus weakens his own position.

The dissidents were also apparently promised posts in important parliamentary committees. And there should be lower ceilings for government spending. This could also affect defense spending and thus, in the medium term, American support for Ukraine in the war against Russia.

Four days of chaos in the House of Representatives

What remains of these four days of chaos in the House of Representatives? “It wasn’t chaos or failure, it was a historic exercise in American democracy,” said Dan Bishop, a North Carolina Republican who was an early dissenter in the party. “These four days tested Republicans’ ability to govern. They failed,” said Veronica Escobar, a Texas Democrat.

“In the short term, we must expect further chaos,” said historian John Farrell on radio station NPR when asked what the voting marathon means for future parliamentary work. “But let’s put it in perspective: We just got through a president in the US who has been the subject of two impeachment proceedings, Donald Trump. We’ve recovered from that too and it’s moving forward.”

Politics has always been a spectacle. “Especially in this country, because of the wisdom of the founding fathers, politics has always been a kind of mud fight from which no one emerges with a clear advantage in power.”

McCarthy elected speaker in the 15th round

Ralf Borchard, ARD Washington, 01/07/2023 07:52 a.m

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