Republican Kevin McCarthy was elected as the new US Speaker after winning his 15th vote as tensions escalated in Congress.
After midterm elections in the fall, Mr McCarthy’s party controlled the US House of Representatives, the House of Representatives, by a narrow 222-212 vote.
Usually, as a formality, the election of the Speaker is seamless, and the leader of the largest party will do the job.
However, the recent split republican party That means that didn’t happen until the 15th round of voting.
In the 14th ballot, Mr McCarthy got 216 votes – one less than needed to win – as a small number of right-wing hardliners stuck around.
He ultimately won by a margin of 216-211 in the 15th ballot.
He was elected with less than half the votes in the House of Representatives only because five people in his party refused to vote – neither for Mr McCarthy as leader nor for another contender.
“My dad always told me it’s not how you start but how you end,” he told cheering fellow Republicans.
US President Joe Biden congratulated him on his success and said he was “ready to work with Republicans”.
However, the GOP is now likely to turn the battle on the president and the Democrats, with Mr McCarthy promising subpoenas and investigations.
“Now the hard work begins,” Mr McCarthy said.
After four days of voting, which continued into the 14th round, a tense exchange ensued, and Mr McCarthy was seen walking to the back of the chamber to confront lawmakers. Matt Gaetz, did not vote for him.
Mr. Gaetz is one of six remaining Republican sticklers and voted “present” in the 14th and 15th rounds.
That essentially means he’s registered to say he’s voting in the House, but isn’t endorsing anyone to be the next Speaker.
A hostile back-and-forth ensued after Mr. McCarthy approached him, while some Republican lawmakers began crowding around them.
Rep. Mike Rogers, who voted for Mr. McCarthy in the vote, appeared to rush in Mr. Gates’ direction but was blocked by other members.
“Keep it civil,” someone yelled.
Read more: Confrontation, anger and Donald Trump – a remarkable night in American politics
Rep. Richard Hudson, another supporter of Mr. McCarthy, was also seen grabbing Mr. Rogers by the mouth, but it was unclear what the argument was about.
Meanwhile, in a separate incident, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green has been seen waving a phone while calling someone saved as “DT,” implying it was Donald Trump.
The Republican member from Georgia shared the photo on her Twitter account, writing: “Perfect call.”
The former president has repeatedly backed Mr. McCarthy as speaker, even though many rebel Republicans are Mr. Trump’s supporters.
McCarthy’s broad concessions
A handful of far-right Republicans from the conservative Liberal caucus don’t think Mr. McCarthy is conservative enough for the job, though he agrees with many of his critics.
One of the most difficult demands Mr. McCarthy agreed to was to restore longstanding House rules that would have allowed any member to vote to remove him from office.
That would significantly reduce the power he holds as he tries to pass legislation on key issues including funding the government, addressing the nation’s looming debt ceiling and other potential crises.
The speaker is one of the most powerful positions in American politics, and this week’s defeat marks the most since 1859, two years before the start of the American Civil War.
This week, the selection meeting lasted several hours in the chamber – even more than eight hours.
What does the Speaker of the United States do?
The speaker of the House of Representatives is one of the most powerful positions in American politics.
They oversee the day-to-day affairs and establish the order in which the House of Representatives operates.
Using their position, an effective speaker can make or break the agenda of the president of the United States, or, if from the same party as the president, effectively block policies that oppose them.
The speaker comes from the party with the largest majority in the House, so depending on their loyalty, this can be a help or a hindrance to the president of the United States.
Previously, the role was filled by Democrat Nancy Pelosi. But the job will now change hands after losing the House to Republicans in the most recent midterm elections.
Republicans have vowed to make a polling inquiry into President Joe Biden and his family’s business dealings a top priority since winning control of the House of Representatives.
In December, the White House issued a statement accusing House Republicans of planning “to attack Biden with politically motivated attacks rife with long-debunked conspiracy theories.”