Jan 9, 2023

McCarthy Elected House Speaker Transcript

McCarthy Elected House Speaker Transcript
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After four days of grueling ballots, McCarthy flipped more than a dozen conservative holdouts to become supporters. Read the transcript here.

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Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (00:00):

The gentleman from the great state of California and the next speaker of the 118th Congress, Kevin McCarthy.

Speaker 2 (00:15):

New Democratic House minority leader, Hakeem Jeffries introducing Republican Kevin McCarthy as House Speaker earlier this morning after a frenzy Friday night of voting. McCarthy, securing the position just after midnight, after four days and 15 rounds of voting. It’s not very common in modern times to see a House Speaker selection go beyond even a single round. Generally, the party in power has determined who the Speaker will be and has figured out the math before bringing it to a vote on the house floor. In fact, we got to go all the way back to the early 19th century to find a speakership battle that lasted this many rounds. You see 2023 right there in the middle between 1819 and 1821. The tumultuous week highlights the divisions within the GOP and how difficult it will likely be for the party to coalesce on issues and legislation over the next two years. Congressional correspondent Nathaniel Reed has more from Washington.

Cheryl Johnson (01:15):

Therefore the honorable Kevin McCarthy of the State of California, having received a majority of the votes cast is duly elected. Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Nathaniel Reed (01:28):

Well, early Saturday morning in Washington at 12:37 AM Eastern Time, Kevin McCarthy, after 15 ballots, was elected Speaker of the House of Representatives able to finally swear in members of Congress and get their newly comprised Republican House off to its start.

Kevin McCarthy (01:45):

It is time for us to be the voice and worthy of their vote. Let me close with this. I may not know all of you, some of you are new, but I hope one thing is clear after this week, I never give up.

Nathaniel Reed (02:05):

In the end, 216 Republicans voted to send Kevin McCarthy over the top, but that’s only after six Republicans changed their vote from other candidates to present, allowing Kevin McCarthy to become the new Speaker of the House without the 218 votes necessary. It’s worth to note this has happened before back in 2021. Then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was elected speaker with just 216 votes, partially due to abstentions.

Kevin McCarthy (02:31):

I want to give all Americans a personal invitation. You are welcome to see this body at work. No longer will the doors be closed, but the debates will be open for you to witness what happens in the People’s House.

Nathaniel Reed (02:49):

Now, Kevin McCarthy will be governing with the same number of Republicans as Democrats had when they were in the majority for the past two years. And what’s clear from this week of deciding who the Speaker would be, it’s going to be a tense majority. And while Republicans might not always see eye to eye, that could potentially give rise to Democrats being able to disrupt votes and give Kevin McCarthy the new House Speaker, a very tough time on the house floor.

It’s also worth noting that Kevin McCarthy had to pass numerous concessions in the rules package, which is expected to be considered on Monday. In that rules package, he will allow any single member the motion to vacate the chair, effectively allowing any member of the House representatives at any time to bring up a vote to oust the Speaker of the House. Of course, that vote would need to be successful, but that was a major concession from Kevin McCarthy. Also included in that rules package, the ability and the requirement that all bills that receive votes are posted 72 hours before the vote takes place. That was a key request of some of the final holdouts. Additionally, a couple other things in there that members had requested, including a vote on a constitutional amendment to create term limits for members of Congress, albeit one that is unlikely to pass in the Democratic controlled US Senate and certainly unlikely to be signed by President Joe Biden, who himself spent many years in the US Senate.

But we can now report Kevin McCarthy will be Speaker of the House for the 118th Congress, it took 15 rounds of voting. In the end, Kevin McCarthy became the Speaker of the House.

Speaker 2 (04:23):

Congressional correspondent Nate Reed in the nation’s Capitol. Thank you, Nate.

Now, McCarthy had expressed confidence going into the 14th round of voting last night, that he would win the speakership, but it didn’t play out that way. He lost again, leading to attention filled scene all in front of the cameras. McCarthy confronting one holdout, Congressman Matt Gates of Florida, and then representative Mike Rogers was physically restrained as he leaned in toward Gates. After that, just as Republicans were poised to adjourn for the weekend, still without a Speaker, some kind of agreement was made and the house went to the 15th and ultimately final round of voting, which of course, McCarthy won.

We also saw this Republican representative Marjorie Taylor Green, the firebrand from Georgia, who promotes conspiracy theories, holding her phone while on a call with the initials DT, for former President Donald Trump. Trump had reportedly spoken to a number of Republican holdouts who were blocking McCarthy’s speaker bid. McCarthy, a staunch ally of the former president, who once said Trump bears responsibility for the Capitol insurrection, thanked him last night after winning the gavel.

Kevin McCarthy (05:31):

I don’t think anybody should doubt his influence. He was with me from the beginning. Somebody wrote the doubt of whether he was there and he was all in. He would call me and he would call others, and he really was, I was just talking to him tonight, helping get those final votes.

Speaker 2 (05:50):

And just to underscore the importance of selecting a House Speaker, new members cannot be sworn in, and official House business cannot even begin until that happens, the 118th Congress arrived on Capitol Hill on Tuesday finding, finally early this morning, McCarthy sworn in new members.

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