After three days of siege and marathon negotiations, The Republicans reached an agreement at dawn on January 7th They were able to confirm their candidate as Speaker of the House of Representatives. Thus, they were able to weather an extraordinary crisis that left the United States without a head of legislative power for three days, something that had not happened in a century.
Vice Kevin McCarthyRepublican candidate, Added support needed in new voting rounds on Friday and Saturday, and was able to prevail after an extraordinary succession of 15 votes, and after losing the fourteenth by only one vote. He did so only thanks to the abstention of six members of his party. In total, McCarthy received 216 affirmative votes. For his part, Democrat Hakeem Jeffries added 212.
Thus, Washington emerges from the shock An institutional crisis unprecedented in a century due to the division of the Republican PartyOr, held hostage by a handful of deputies who for three days refused to support their leaders.
It was a long and very tense night in the Capitol after two years of ransacking two years ago, when a pro-Donald Trump mob tried to block the transfer of power. The Republicans, who won the House of Representatives elections in November by a very narrow majority, have not agreed to elect a leader as a caucus.
There were shocking scenes, such as the verbal confrontation between McCarthy and one of the rebel Representatives, Matt Gaetz of Florida, who abstained, giving him a coup d’état, in which it was necessary for him to vote for him. McCarthy’s ally, Mike Rogers, had to be restrained because it looked like he was going to pounce on Gates, sitting next to a section of the rebels, or “infidels” as they are called in his party.
At one point, McCarthy ally Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene phoned a rebel with a call from “DT,” Donald Trump’s initials. The former president made several calls to try to overturn the vote, according to aides.
Defeated, humiliated, visibly traumatizedAfter the fourteenth vote, McCarthy returned to his seat and his team requested that the vote be postponed until Monday. The Democrats vehemently objected, in a scene more typical of the British House of Commons than the House of Representatives in Washington. There was a vote on the holiday, which was negative. “One more time” the Republicans began to sing, when it seemed that the agreement had already been concluded. In the fifteenth round, there was an agreement on the minimum.
McCarthy had previously agreed to many of his critics’ demands in his own party, including reinstating an old House rule that would have allowed any member to call for a vote to remove it. The demands of the rebels, on the populist wing, in turn have made the moderate Republicans uncomfortable, on whom the ambitious Speaker of the House is also relying on the most dire situation in decades. For example, according to what they leaked to the national media, one of McCarthy’s concessions is to allow laws to be debated and voted upon to set term limits for Representatives and Senators, as for the president of the nation.
The Democrats, despite their public denunciation of this spectacle by the Republicans because of the institutional inertia involved, cannot hide their joy at the collapse of their opponents after the November by-elections, the result of which was deeply divided.
of course, In a hundred years there has not been a thirteenth sound, fourteenth and fifteenth, as on January 6th. The critics are mostly Trump allies, populists who believe his party has not taken their allegations of voter fraud and other grievances seriously. Others credit McCarthy for supporting other candidates in the primaries. Others are simply born agitators, true anti-establishment like Gaetz, who has more than once nominated Trump for Speaker of the House, drawing cheers from some Republicans and boos from Democrats.
This week the negotiations continued until late in the morning. McCarthy’s strategy was to make concessions while letting his nomination fail again and again, in a particularly humiliating fashion in the face of entrenched Democrats in the White House and Senate.
Without the speaker, there was really no full legislative power: the deputies were merely in office, without being able to swear oaths of office or approve laws or budgets. They couldn’t get paid either.
Republicans in this shock come to a year in it The 2024 primaries must be prepared, the year in which the Capitol and the White House will be renovated again, after a Biden term marked by the end of the pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The opposition party also lacks a stable leadership. Trump launched his third campaign for the presidency two months ago, but he hasn’t gained much momentum yet and has many challengers aspiring to beat him in the primaries.
A scene like this hasn’t been seen in the Capitol since at least 1855Where he got 133 votes in two months. It was the years leading up to the Civil War, when politicians were bitterly divided over slavery and the possibility of outlawing it.
The fact that about two dozen deputies from a 435-seat assembly can bring the entire country under siege also portends a restless legislature, in which the consensus will be more complex than it has been hitherto, when Democrats have ruled. McCarthy was, as of Friday, the fifth longest running nomination in US history.