AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana
- Kevin McCarthy on Friday brushed off any concerns about fallout from the GOP leadership battle.
- “Because it took this long, now we learned how to govern,” the California Republican said.
- McCarthy clinched the House speakership early Saturday morning after a 15th ballot.
Shortly before the final roll call vote where Kevin McCarthy clinched the House speakership, the California Republican said that because of the protracted leadership battle, the GOP had “learned how to govern.”
While speaking with reporters at the Capitol on Friday evening, McCarthy dismissed any notion that the lengthy balloting process to secure his speakership was a prediction of GOP dysfunction in the 118th Congress.
“I think getting together and just finding the ability to — how we’re going to work together is new for us,” he said. “I think at the end of the day, we’re going to be more effective, more efficient, and definitely government is going to be more accountable.”
When McCarthy was asked about his outlook on leading the slim 222-member GOP majority, especially one with a deeply influential conservative bloc, the lawmaker said that the experience had been helpful to the party — despite a caucus size that will leave little room for error in the next two years.
“This is the great part,” he replied. “Because it took this long, now we learned how to govern. So now we’ll be able to get the job done.”
—Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) January 6, 2023
McCarthy was slated to claim the speaker’s gavel on Tuesday, Jan. 3.
However, the first few roll call votes shined a light on the lingering divisions within a party still reeling from their lackluster midterm results while also looking to 2024 — when President Joe Biden is expected to seek reelection and former President Donald Trump may once again be the GOP presidential nominee.
McCarthy on early Saturday morning eventually won the speakership over House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York after 15 ballots and a 216-212 vote.