McCarthy Becomes House Speaker

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California Republican Kevin McCarthy finally got the votes he needed to become Speaker of the House. It took 15 ballots for McCarthy to secure the majority leadership position, and he finally got it early Saturday after making concessions to a small group of far-right conservatives. It was the longest House speaker election in over 150 years, and was preventing the House from swearing in its new members, who finally took the oath of office this morning.

President Biden is congratulating Republican Kevin McCarthy on becoming Speaker of the House. Biden released a statement early Saturday calling for bipartisanship in the new Congress. He told McCarthy, "The American people expect their leaders to govern in a way that puts their needs above all else, and that is what we need to do now." Biden added that he's prepared to work with Republicans "when I can," and said "voters made clear that they expect Republicans to be prepared to work with me as well."

Congressman Hakeem Jeffries is making history as the first Black lawmaker to lead a party in Congress. All 212 Democrats unanimously voted for Jeffries in the final vote for House Speaker early Saturday, after Republicans took 15 ballots to finally elect Kevin McCarthy. Jeffries will take the place of Nancy Pelosi as Democratic leader. The 52-year-old congressman from New York will lead the House Democratic minority for the next two years.

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