Republican Kevin McCarthy has won his 15th vote to be the new US speaker after chaos in Congress.
After midterm elections in the fall, Mr McCarthy’s party controlled the US House of Representatives, the House of Representatives, by a narrow 222-212 vote.
Usually, as a formality, the election of the Speaker is seamless, and the leader of the largest party will do the job.
However, the recent split republican party That means that didn’t happen until the 15th round of voting.
In the 14th ballot, Mr McCarthy got 216 votes – one less than needed to win – as a small number of right-wing hardliners stuck around.
He eventually won by a margin of 216-211.
He was elected with less than half the votes in the House of Representatives only because five people in his party refused to vote – neither for Mr McCarthy as leader nor for another contender.
US President Joe Biden congratulated him on his success and said he was “ready to work with Republicans”.
After the 14th round, a tense confrontation ensued, with Mr. McCarthy going to the back of the chamber and confronting lawmakers. Matt Gaetz, did not vote for him.
Mr. Gaetz is one of six remaining Republican sticklers and voted “present” in the 14th and 15th rounds.
That essentially means he’s registered to say he’s voting in the House, but isn’t endorsing anyone to be the next Speaker.
A hostile back-and-forth ensued after Mr. McCarthy approached him, while some Republican lawmakers began crowding around them.
Rep. Mike Rogers, who voted for Mr. McCarthy in the vote, appeared to rush in Mr. Gates’ direction but was blocked by other members.
“Keep it civil,” someone yelled.
Rep. Richard Hudson, another supporter of Mr. McCarthy, was also seen grabbing Mr. Rogers by the mouth, but it was unclear what the argument was about.
McCarthy’s broad concessions
While McCarthy agreed with many of his critics, a handful of far-right Republicans don’t think Mr. McCarthy is conservative enough for the job.
One of the most difficult demands Mr. McCarthy agreed to was to restore longstanding House rules that would have allowed any member to vote to remove him from office.
That would significantly reduce the power he holds as he tries to pass legislation on key issues including funding the government, addressing the nation’s looming debt ceiling and other potential crises.
The speaker is one of the most powerful positions in American politics, and this week’s defeat marks the most for a speaker since 1859.
This week, the selection meeting lasted several hours in the chamber – even more than eight hours.