LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Local lawmakers are reacting after a historic battle for the speaker of the House of Representatives ended after midnight early Saturday.
After 15 rounds of voting, the 118th session of Congress began after a week of disagreements and divisions among Republican politicians. When McCarthy was finally elected, he took the oath of office and the House was finally able to swear in newly elected lawmakers who had been waiting all week for the chamber to formally open and the 2023-24 session to begin.
Local GOP officials are united behind Republican Kevin McCarthy, the new House Speaker, but it wasn’t the performance Washington Louisville’s new Congressman was hoping for.
“We’ve known for two months that they’re going to take over the speakership and for some reason 20 people are holding the rest of the government hostage and doing their jobs,” MP Morgan McGarvey told WDRB News earlier this week.
McGarvey, a Democrat, was officially sworn in as a representative of Kentucky’s Third District on Saturday morning. He released a statement saying, “I’m proud to finally be sworn in after five days of Republican fighting stalled our legislative work.”
The group of conservatives holding up the speaker vote this week did not include representatives from Kentucky or Indiana. Local representatives support the new McCarthy.
Erin Houchin, a freshman congresswoman representing southern Indiana, said in a statement, “I am encouraged that our conference cares about what is best for our country and collectively elected Speaker McCarthy to handle things for Hooisers back home .”
James Comer of Kentucky delivered a nominating speech prior to the 13th Speakers Vote.
“This is the people’s house, let’s get to work. Madame Clerk, I am nominating Kevin McCarthy to be the next speaker of the United States House of Representatives and I am giving back,” Comer said.
Kentucky Congressman Thomas Massie, a frequent critic of GOP leadership, including McCarthy, also lent his support. Massie told Fox News political commentator Tucker Carlson that McCarthy had agreed to form a committee to investigate alleged abuses by the FBI and other intelligence agencies.
Massie said it was in the works behind the scenes this week.
“We made sure that this committee wasn’t going to be fenced in, that it wasn’t just going to be a show committee,” Massie told Carlson. “We wanted to make sure we had full jurisdiction.”
McCarthy made concessions to be elected Speaker of the House, including agreeing to a deal that would give colleagues the ability to oust him as Speaker with just a single vote.
“As Speaker of the House of Representatives, I am ultimately not committed to my party, my conference, or even our Congress,” McCarthy said. “My responsibility, our responsibility is for our country.”
McCarthy will also work to maintain a relationship with Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, the Senate Minority Leader. McCarthy and McConnell weren’t always on the same page during the first two years of President Joe Biden’s administration.
McConnell tweeted his congratulations early Saturday morning, saying, “Senate Republicans look forward to working together to control and balance Democrats in Washington.”
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