House Speaker Kevin McCarthy officially opened the 118th Congress early Saturday morning after willing the Speaker’s gavel. The first order of business upon winning the Speakership was for him to hold a chamber-wide swearing-in ceremony for all of the new members of the lower chamber.
Winning the speakership was not an easy task for McCarthy, who had to find a way to win the support of the 20 Republicans that had been opposing him since Tuesday. He finally managed to win the Speakership in the 15th and final vote.
As McCarthy noted, he hoped that this experience made it abundantly clear that he was not one to give up. As he added, he would never give up working for the American people and the commitment he has made to the country. In his opening remarks, he added that America was “worth fighting for.”
Following his acceptance of the gavel as Speaker of the House, McCarthy thanked all the lawmakers who supported him and helped with his vision of uniting the legislative body. As he shared, his father had always told him that it was not about “how you start” but rather “how you finish.” As McCarthy pointed out, this was why it is important for them to now “finish strong for the American people.”
In his first speech as Speaker, McCarthy also noted that his first responsibility was not to the Republican party or his conference, or even Congress, but rather it was to the country, especially after all the people who voted to bring a new direction to the country.
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