Newly-elected House Speaker Kevin McCarthy presided over the 118th Congress early Saturday morning, after 15 long and tenuous ballets to achieve the necessary votes to win the speakership. McCarthy gave opening remarks after a swearing-in ceremony was conducted.
It was a dramatic week filled with controversies within the Republican party, as 20 GOP House members initially did not support him. These Republican holdouts would not delegate their votes to McCarthy until he provided concessions, leading to the historic number of ballots that went late into the night. Slowly, McCarthy won his party over, gaining a sufficient number of votes to secure the speakership.
McCarthy stated in his opening remarks, “I hope one thing is clear after this week: I will never give up. I will never give up for you, the American people. And I will never give up on keeping our Commitment to America. Our nation is worth fighting for.”
After receiving the gavel, he continued:
“You know – my father always told me: It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. And now we need to finish strong for the American people.”
“As Speaker of the House, my ultimate responsibility is not to my party, my conference, or even our Congress. My responsibility – our responsibility – is to our country. Two months ago, you voted for a new direction for our country. You embraced our Commitment to America. And now, we are going to keep our commitment to you.”
“If the son of a fireman and grandchild of immigrants can rise to the highest position in the most important legislative body in the world and if my colleague Hakeem Jeffries with his life story can rise to lead his party then opportunity and democracy still thrive in America.”
“To Leader Jeffries – there will be times we will agree and many times we will differ. I promise that our debates will be passionate, but never personal. And now the hard work begins. What we do here today, next week, next month, and next year will set the tone for everything that follows.”
“Hakeem – I need to warn you: I also won 100 percent of my conference vote on this floor two years ago. So, good luck!”
McCarthy then addressed the priorities he and his party will pursue in the 118th Congress. These endeavors include investigating China, defunding the over 80,000 new IRS agents, eliminating wasteful government spending and federal debt, and more. The House Speaker also vowed to make our nation safer and preserve the freedoms in which this country was founded on.
McCarthy went on to say:
“We will also address America’s long-term challenges: the debt and the Chinese Communist Party. Congress must speak with one voice on both of these issues.”
“Our system is built on checks and balances. It’s time for us to be the check and provide some balance to the President’s policies. There is nothing more important than making it possible for American families to live and enjoy the lives they deserve.”
“We pledge to cut the regulatory burden, lower energy costs for families, and create good-paying jobs for workers by unleashing reliable, abundant American-made energy,” McCarthy added. “Our first bill will repeal funding for 87,000 new IRS agents. Because the government should be here to help you, not go after you.”
“Our nation is worth fighting for. Our rights are worth fighting for. Our dreams are worth fighting for. Our future is worth fighting for.”
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