Dealmaker or hostage? What America can expect from Speaker Kevin McCarthy

Republican leader Kevin McCarthy now holds the Speaker’s gavel after 15 rounds of voting in the House, but questions remain strong about whether he can effectively lead his party amid its apparent divisions.

McCarthy’s Hard Road His bid to become House speaker ended early Saturday morning after Republicans miscounted the number of votes he needed and gave him one vote short of winning, then gave him one last vote to win — with the help of some of his biggest opponents.

Lawmakers and political insiders told Fox News Digital that McCarthy, R-Calif., has the ability to govern successfully amid pushback from members of his own party, but only if he keeps his word to those who helped nominate him and focuses on the party’s overall agenda — to cut spending, address the border crisis. An ambitious plan to address and hold the Biden administration accountable.

Scott Rasmussen, pollster and president of RMG Research, said McCarthy could govern if “the caucus understands its role” — a Republican chamber in an otherwise Democrat-controlled government.

Kevin McCarthy was elected Speaker of the House in a 15th floor vote after days of high drama

Kevin McCarthy addresses the 118th Congress after winning the Speaker's seat on the 15th ballot on January 7, 2023.

Kevin McCarthy addresses the 118th Congress after winning the Speaker’s seat on the 15th ballot on January 7, 2023.
(Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc. via Getty Images)

“No significant piece of legislation supported by conservatives will become law [Democrat majority] Senate and President Biden,” he said. “So, the goal should be to highlight key policy differences on issues like immigration…to make sure voters understand the policy options before them in 2024.”

McCarthy’s bid for speaker attracted nationwide attention after failing to win a majority of the vote in the first round of voting, sending the media into a frenzy over the split among Republicans.

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“Only 4% of voters were talking about the speaker race last week, so it’s not really a factor,” Rasmussen said, pointing to an absence of concern among Americans about the speaker race. “It’s what happens next that matters.”

Florida GOP Rep. McCarthy nominated McCarthy to serve as speaker in the chamber’s sixth round of voting. Kat Cammack said she believes McCarthy has what it takes to lead, “regardless of our differences.”

“As Speaker McCarthy said in his speech … there will always be a passionate debate when it comes to the best interests of the American people, and as a conference we have pledged to work together — not our differences,” Cammack said. “We’re working to make our government more accountable and transparent, secure the southern border, strengthen our economy and beyond. With a slim majority, I’m encouraged by what I’ve seen from my colleagues this week, and I’m excited to get to work.”

Florida GOP Rep.  Kat Cammack nominates Kevin McCarthy for Speaker of the House on January 4, 2023 at the US Capitol.

Florida GOP Rep. Kat Cammack nominates Kevin McCarthy for Speaker of the House on January 4, 2023 at the US Capitol.
(Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Cammack noted McCarthy’s involvement in conversations related to the House rules package, saying he was “at the table for every conversation” and “pushed Republicans to make this body and our leadership work more effectively and make us more responsive to the people.” Chosen to serve.”

Similarly, Rep. Rep. Mike Waltz, R-Fla., said McCarthy, despite a slim majority in the House, has proven he can unite Republicans in an effort to deliver results for the American people.

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“Difficulties come with small majorities, but Speaker McCarthy has demonstrated that he has the support of the majority of the Republican conference,” Waltz said in a statement to Fox. “I’m confident we’ll come together to pass conservative legislation and implement aggressive oversight on the politicized investigation of the DOJ and FBI, securing the border, countering the Chinese threat, holding big tech accountable.”

McCarthy thanks Trump after House speaker vote: ‘He’s been with me since the beginning’

Brett O’Donnell, president of O’Donnell & Associates, who has served as a key political debate coach for several candidates, said, “It’s critical that Republicans in the House show they can govern or have a majority, and that Speaker McCarthy’s tenure is short. -lived.”

“Speaker McCarthy is able to govern if those who negotiated the rules of the House were actually acting in good faith and holding their election,” O’Donnell said. “While there will certainly be fights over various policies, there will be more to unite the conference as they take on House Democrats, a Democrat Senate and a Democrat president.”

If the GOP is to focus, O’Donnell said, Republicans have a chance to grow their majority in 2024.

The 15th and final vote for House speaker gave McCarthy 216 votes, short of the usual 218 votes because all six of his remaining GOP opponents — Reps. , Florida’s Matt GaetzBob Good of Virginia and Matt Rosendale of Montana — voted “Present” in the final round.

Taking the anti-McCarthy votes off the table came a week in which McCarthy was able to alienate about 20 Republicans who opposed him, thanks in large part to negotiations that would dramatically reshape the way the House is run. He said some conservative members of the House He got virtually everything he wanted walked out of the talks and began breaking down to McCarthy on Friday morning.

McCarthy agreed to allow a single lawmaker to choose the new speaker, returning to a method the House had followed for decades before that practice was eliminated under former Speaker Nancy Pelosi. They agreed to vote on term limits and the adoption of a budget resolution that would balance the budget over 10 years and fiscal year 2024 spending at the FY 2022 level.

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McCarthy, who has the support of former President Donald Trump in his bid for House speaker, has agreed to reject any spending talks with the Senate until the Senate passes its own spending bills. He agreed not to raise the debt limit without spending cuts or other fiscal reforms, to establish a committee to examine the government’s weapons against US citizens and to ensure that no bills are brought to the floor for at least 72 hours.

Additionally, he agreed to give three members of the House Freedom Caucus three seats on the House Rules Committee, which sets the rules of debate for all legislation that goes to the House floor.

Fox News’ Lawrence Richard contributed to this report.

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