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McCarthy says drawn out speaker fight was good for Republicans: ‘We’ve learned how to govern’

Incoming House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of Calif., pauses before he speaks on the House floor at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, early Saturday, Jan. 7, 2023. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) Andrew Harnik/AP

McCarthy says drawn out speaker fight was good for Republicans: ‘We’ve learned how to govern’

Misty Severi

January 07, 11:18 AM January 07, 11:18 AM

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House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) claimed that his drawn out battle for House speaker that ended Saturday morning was good for the Republican Party because now he was more prepared to govern.

The Republican leader, who was finally victorious after a four-day fight and 15 rounds of voting, said that he would be a more effective leader now that he had to make compromises in order to negotiate his election as speaker.

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“Because it took this long, now we’ve learned how to govern. So now we’ll be able to get the job done,” McCarthy said. “At the end of the day, we’re going to be more effective, more efficient and definitely government is going to be more accountable.”

In a final showdown, McCarthy secured the speaker’s gavel with 216 votes in his favor, and six GOP representatives voting “present,” which lowered the ballot threshold for his election. However, opponents required major concessions from McCarthy in order to get the necessary votes. McCarthy has shrugged off any implication that his concessions will make his term more difficult.

While McCarthy is confident in his ability to govern, members of his caucus who put up the strongest fight to keep him from holding the gavel still have doubts.

“We do not trust Mr. McCarthy with power, because we know who he will use it for. And we are concerned that it will not be for the American people,” Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) told Reuters. Gaetz is one of the six representatives who voted “present” in the final round of voting.

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During his victory speech, McCarthy laid out his priorities for the new Congress, announcing that the first hearings under GOP control would address the crisis at the southern border and plans to repeal the authorization of thousands of new IRS agents. He also pledged to scrutinize the origins of COVID-19, to organize a select committee to investigate China, and to hold the “swamp accountable” over a political agenda that he claimed has corrupted the FBI.

McCarthy also promised an open door to both Democrats and Republicans, and a term of open debate on the House floor.

Members of the House of Representatives were expected to be sworn in alongside the Senate on Tuesday. However, the ceremony did not happen until McCarthy was confirmed as speaker early Saturday morning.

The Democrat-controlled Senate was sworn in on schedule on Tuesday, after Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) was confirmed as the first female president pro tempore.

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