There was no shortage of entertainment and suspense on Friday as Congress gathered together once again to solidify the Speaker of the House for the 118th Congress.
After days of losses, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) could still not garner the needed votes in the 14th bid late Friday night, despite his belief that he had clinched the speakership victory.
Twenty GOP holdouts agreed to support him on the 12th ballot after a long list of concessions, and anti-McCarthy Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) voted present in the 14th ballot bringing McCarthy close, but ultimately not having enough — leaving him just one vote shy of sealing the deal.
Once reality set in for McCarthy’s 14th consecutive loss, he went to lobby Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), who continued to withstand his opposition for McCarthy’s speakership but could have secured it with his vote.
Gaetz’s unwillingness to budge led to a series of theatrics on the House floor with McCarthy dramatically walking up the steps to confront the Never-Kevin lawmaker.
After a heated exchange, McCarthy walked away looking disgusted but turned back to him for another go-around.
When McCarthy finally turned to leave, one of his supporters Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL) appeared to have some choice words for Gaetz, which might have turned physical if he wasn’t restrained by Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC).
If only the C-SPAN camera stayed for this Mike Rogers video a beat longer… pic.twitter.com/ACXGf0TplG
— Brittany Prime (@BLPrime) January 7, 2023
Following the unsuccessful vote, Republicans asked to adjourn until Monday, but the motion failed and the House stayed in session.
In the 15th bid, Gaetz voted “present”, along with five other opponents, which helped lower the vote threshold and gave McCarthy the speakership in the final vote.
McCarthy’s speakership was not an easy road but resulted in even the most conservative members of Congress saying they got almost everything they wanted out of the concessions.
Now that McCarthy’s role is confirmed, the 118th Congress will be sworn in and the much-anticipated work of the Republican House can begin.
GOP lawmakers’ list of to-dos will be focused on managing federal government spending and cracking down on the past, present, and future antics of the Biden administration.