United States: Kevin McCarthy finally elected Speaker of the House of Representatives
After 14 unsuccessful votes, the elected Republicans finally agreed to elect their candidate for the post of “speaker” of the House.
VS’is the end of an almost unprecedented mess in the American Congress. On the night of Friday January 6 to Saturday January 7, the Republican Kevin McCarthy was finally elected President of the American House of Representatives, at the end of a process marked until the end by very strong tensions in the Republican ranks. By dint of negotiations, the group of Trumpists who paralyzed the nomination of the fifty-year-old from California ended up giving in. But not without a final last ditch.
These free electrons made the suspense last until the end, blocking the candidacy of the chosen one for the 14the vote, causing a real mess in the hemicycle. Kevin McCarthy then walked towards the group of Trumpists, as fingers pointed accusingly. Amid the hubbub, the Congress Clerk called on elected officials to remain calm.
President Joe Biden congratulated Republican Kevin McCarthy on his election: “I am willing to work with Republicans when possible and voters have made it clear that they expect Republicans to be willing to work with me as well. “, he said in a statement. “It is time to govern responsibly,” he added.
This election augurs a difficult mandate
All week long, this hard core of elected conservatives, who accuse the elected official of pandering to the interests of the establishment in Washington, took advantage of the very thin Republican majority won in the November mid-term elections to play the spoilsport. They only eased the pressure after obtaining substantial guarantees – including a procedure aimed precisely at facilitating the eviction of the “speaker”.
Finally elected, Kevin McCarthy replaces Democrat Nancy Pelosi as “speaker”. And emerges weakened from this election which augurs a very difficult mandate. On the menu in the next few months, negotiations on the raising of the American public debt ceiling, the financing of the federal state and, potentially, on the release of additional envelopes for the war in Ukraine.
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With their new control of the House, the Republicans have also promised to launch a host of investigations into Joe Biden’s handling of the pandemic or the withdrawal from Afghanistan. But after having exposed their divisions to the big day, will their investigations have the same echo?
Facing a hostile but messy House could prove to be a political boon for Joe Biden, if he confirms his intention to run again in 2024 – a move he is due to announce earlier this year. Without controlling the two chambers – which had been the case since his inauguration in January 2021, although with a very slim majority in the Senate – the American president can no longer hope to pass major legislation. But with a Senate in the hands of the Democrats, neither are the Republicans.
Marathon negotiation sessions
Throughout this process of appointing “speaker”, Joe Biden’s party has not failed to denounce the stranglehold of Donald Trump’s faithful – many of whom still refuse to recognize his defeat in 2020 – on the Republican Party, two years to the day after the storming of the Capitol. But the Democrats, who lost control of the House after the November poll, did not have enough votes to end this paralysis.
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Marathon negotiation sessions in the galleries adjacent to the hemicycle, a horde of journalists picking up every statement from this group of free spirits… This election has at times seemed endless. And for good reason, the representatives of the Chamber had no choice but to continue to vote until a “speaker” was elected by a simple majority.
A Republican voting with her dog under her arm, Democrats sharing a newspaper to pass the time… The cameras of the American parliamentary channel, usually subject to very strict rules on authorized shooting, captured many moments of life of this atypical procedure, to the delight of viewers and social networks.
This paralysis of the American Congress nevertheless had very concrete repercussions: without a “speaker”, the third most important figure in American politics after the president and the vice-president, the elected officials could not take the oath. It is therefore impossible to vote on any bill, participate in parliamentary committees or access information classified as a defense secret.
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