House Speaker Kevin McCarthy delivered his first remarks after being elected speaker of the House on Wednesday. After months of debate and bitter fighting, he was elected to head the House Republicans.
But despite his victory, there were lingering doubts about his ability to lead. While all 212 Democrats voted for him in every ballot, more than a dozen holdouts remained uncommitted. These included Matt Gaetz of Florida, who had voted for President Donald Trump to become speaker in two failed votes.
As the House struggled to find a consensus on its leader, some Republicans began to resign. New York’s George Santos, who faced multiple investigations, was one of them. Others are urging the embattled New York Republican to resign.
Some Democratic lawmakers say they are looking to link the Capitol’s chaos with radicalism that led to the 2021 riot. They also believe that many members of the same faction that tried to overturn the 2020 election results supported President Trump during that attack.
The Senate, meanwhile, is looking forward to defending the nation. Senator Mitch McConnell said his chamber “will bring oversight and accountability to the reckless Administration.” He congratulated House Republicans, saying they had a “majority” and looked forward to working together.
McCarthy has already made concessions to his opponents. He agreed to a rule change that will allow just one lawmaker to call for a vote to oust him as speaker. He also agreed to open the floor to a freewheeling debate about government spending bills. He also promised to vote on a term limits bill.