Republican Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s dream job could turn into a nightmare

McCarthy shrugged that the deal could weaken his power.

“It doesn’t give me any problems or concerns,” McCarthy told reporters, describing his deal with critics as a “very good” deal that “empowers members.”

cuts in spending

He also agreed to deep cuts in government spending to achieve a balanced federal budget 10 years from October, and promised his hard-line critics greater leverage on key committees.

The weeks-long standoff over his candidacy has given heart to individual lawmakers at a time when the thin Republican majority concedes he could lose no more than four votes to pass legislation.

McCarthy has spent his adult life in politics, first as a congressional staffer and then as a representative before being elected to the House of Representatives in 2006. He ran unsuccessfully for the post of spokesman in 2015 and the election marks the high point of his career.


But the post of speaker has proved a formidable challenge for Republicans in recent years, with John Boehner stepping down from office in 2015 after a battle with rebellious conservatives.

Boehner’s successor, Paul Ryan, a frequent target of conservatives, decided not to run again in 2018 as then-President Trump shifted the party focus from Ryan’s fiscal priorities to issues of immigration and the culture war.

McCarthy clashed with hardliners when he publicly admitted that Trump bore responsibility for the deadly attack on the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, days after the violence. He later repeatedly expressed his loyalty to the former president.

On Saturday, Trump sought recognition for the choice of the new spokesman, posting a video on his Truth social network of McCarthy thanking Trump for his support and captioning it, “Thanks Kevin. It was a great honor for me.”

McCarthy visited at least 34 states to campaign for more than 165 candidates ahead of the midterms. The Congressional Leadership Fund, an affiliated group, donated more than $160 million to help Republican House candidates. McCarthy sent candidates $6.5 million from his own campaign and four other entities under his control, according to his campaign team.

But in order to achieve the speakership, he also agreed not to interfere in future Republican primaries, even if that meant promoting candidates he believed were more likely to win a general election than right-wing rivals.

“Kevin is a good man. He’s a man of God,” Republican Representative Mike Garcia said in a speech nominating McCarthy. “He’s a patriot. He is a leader who has led this conference to our current majority for the past four years. These things are unassailable.”

Reuters Republican Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s dream job could turn into a nightmare

Callan Tansill

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