Early Saturday Morning, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) officially opened the 118th Congress, conducting a chamber-wide swearing-in for new members after he secured the Speaker’s gavel.
McCarthy securing the Speaker’s gavel comes after he spent four days slowly winning over twenty Republican holdouts, who defected their votes to others rather than support McCarthy.
After the fifteenth ballot, when McCarthy finally succeeded in his pursuit of the Speakership, the California Republican lauded his resilience, saying that the week had proven he “will never give up.”
McCarthy’s silver lining speech, which included lines like “Our nation is worth fighting for,” concerning his resilience, was the first he gave as Speaker. McCarthy decided to strike an upbeat tone that focused on what he planned to accomplish with the Speaker’s gavel.
He reiterated that his commitment as Speaker was to the country, which helped the GOP secure a majority in the House.
McCarthy also warned House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), telling the New York Democrat that he “also won 100 percent of my conference vote on this floor two years ago.”
McCarthy also told Jeffries to expect disagreement and debate but emphasized that while the debate may become heated, they would never be personal.
The California Republican addressed what he planned to tackle with the Speaker’s gavel, highlighting his priorities included eliminating some of the federal debt that had ballooned to $31 trillion and investigating the Chinese Communist Party.
He concluded his statements by saying, “My friends – this chamber is now fully open for all Americans,” drawing thunderous applause from both sides of the aisle.