(NewsNation) — Now that the drama of electing a new speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives is behind us, the question many Americans are asking is, what’s next?
Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., secured the House speakership late Friday night in a 15th round of balloting, but not before tensions boiled over on the floor of the U.S. House.
“We have to focus on the economy, we have to focus, make our border secure,” McCarthy said after winning the vote. “We have much work to do.”
Rep. Dusty Johnson, R- S.D., said Republicans now have to act together.
“They want a Republican Party, a Republican House, that has its act together,” Johnson said. “We need to show them in the next few days we have our act together.”
Congress will soon be on to the business of legislating, but the prolonged fight around the speaker’s election raises questions.
Is this Republican-led house capable of governing?
It’s a concern even some Republicans themselves share.
“When you’ve got a five-seat margin, it’s not going to be easy,” Johnson said.
It took 15 rounds of voting for the party to unite behind a speaker this time around.
Tensions rose and last-minute fireworks ensued amid the House voting process, during which members literally had to be restrained on the House floor.
Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., got heated toward fellow Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida on Friday.
It was an episode that McCarthy said will only make his party more ready to govern.
“I really think by having the disruption now, I really built the trust with one another and learned how to work together,” McCarthy said.
On Monday, the new House will be sworn in and will have to vote on the rules that dictate how the chamber is run.
In order to win their vote for speaker, McCarthy agreed to the demands of a small group of ultraconservative Freedom Caucus Republicans, demands that are widely expected to weaken his speakership.
McCarthy’s rules concessions:
- One member can force a vote to remove the speaker
- Bills limiting government spending will be prioritized
- Bills will be posted publicly 72 hours before a vote
- More hardline conservatives will be on key committees
For important bills that have even wide, bipartisan support, McCarthy acknowledged, getting all his members to buy in will be a challenge.
“We have to think about and work on the bills with a microcosm of the conference before we start writing it,” McCarthy said. “That’s what we learned here.”