West News Wire: Kevin McCarthy, a Republican congressman, has been chosen as speaker of the House of Representatives, defeating right-wing dissenters who had prevented him from becoming speaker for several days.

McCarthy finally won the gavel of the House after 15 rounds of voting, garnering 216 of the 428 votes cast late on Friday. Hakeem Jeffries of the Democrats received 212 votes.

Kevin McCarthy, a Republican congressman, has been chosen as speaker of the House of Representatives, defeating right-wing dissenters who had prevented him from becoming speaker for several days.

McCarthy finally won the gavel of the House after 15 rounds of voting, garnering 216 of the 428 votes cast late on Friday. Hakeem Jeffries of the Democrats received 212 votes.

With McCarthy finally ascending to the speaker’s chair, the House will finally start swearing in newly elected lawmakers and the 2023-24 session can begin.

It was the first time in a century that a speaker was not elected in the first round.

McCarthy’s speakership bid appeared up in the air before the House meeting on Friday. He had been negotiating with right-wing dissenters after three days of failure to secure a majority.

Republicans only narrowly took control of the House after a disappointing midterm election performance in November that saw Democrats retain control of the United States Senate.

With McCarthy finally ascending to the speaker’s chair, the House will finally start swearing in newly elected lawmakers and the 2023-24 session can begin.

It was the first time in a century that a speaker was not elected in the first round.

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McCarthy’s speakership bid appeared up in the air before the House meeting on Friday. He had been negotiating with right-wing dissenters after three days of failure to secure a majority.

Republicans only narrowly took control of the House after a disappointing midterm election performance in November that saw Democrats retain control of the United States Senate.

In November, the Republicans gained a thin 222-212 majority in the midterm elections, giving outsized power to the right-wing hardliners who oppose McCarthy’s leadership.

The longest fight for the speakership was in 1855, lasting more than two months with a staggering 133 ballots, during debates over slavery in the run-up to the Civil War.

The Republican dissenters had presented numerous demands before agreeing to back McCarthy, including changing House rules to allow any member to bring a no-confidence vote on the speaker.

They also sought a bigger say on the House rules and appropriations committees, which would allow them to influence the US government budget and help decide which bills can move forward in the chamber. Details of the possible deal that saw most of them change their votes in favour of McCarthy have not emerged.

The new House speaker has said he would launch a congressional investigation into the business dealings of Biden’s son, Hunter Biden — an issue that Democrats dismiss as a conspiracy theory.

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