In January, after a historic 15 ballots, Kevin McCarthy was eventually able to secure enough Republican votes to become House Speaker.
Since then, however, he appears to have delivered in terms of legislation, earning the approbation of his party’s most conservative members.
“So far, McCarthy has logged surprise successes in the new Congress: The Republican House has passed dozens of bills, many of them bipartisan, including politically potent efforts targeting crime and the COVID-19 pandemic that left President Joe Biden almost no choice but to sign the bills into law,” The Associated Press noted in an analysis published on Saturday.
“McCarthy has opened the Capitol more fully to visitors, relishing the onlookers who stop to snap selfies during his impromptu hallway news conferences. He hosted his first foreign leader, President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan, with a diplomatic flourish, leading a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers standing up to China,” the analysis continued.
“On Monday, McCarthy will deliver a speech at the New York Stock Exchange, another sign of his rising influence,” the report continued.
The Associated Press compared McCarthy’s leadership as House speaker as the new Congress approaches the 1000-day mark to a floodlight shining on an empty stage. As the audience waits for the play to begin, they realize there is no script.
McCarthy’s connections to ex-President Donald Trump and tenuous hold on the gavel have limited his ability to take action despite his position as speaker, which places him second in line to the presidency of the United States. The ability of any member of Congress to call for a vote to remove him from office leaves his position in a precarious position.
According to the analysis, McCarthy has encountered a number of obstacles that have made it difficult for the House Republican Party to achieve its larger objectives, such as delivering on border security pledges and avoiding a debt ceiling crisis.
However, the Republican from California appears to have effectively navigated the thin line between conservative and moderate Republican members.
The AP further reported on the issue:
He frequently asserts that he is underestimated. When they gained control of the House for the first time in four years in January, the Republicans stunned Washington with some unexpected early victories.
Republicans nearly compelled Biden to sign early measures into law, including one to roll back the criminal code of the District of Columbia. When the White House abandoned efforts to veto the bill and embraced the GOP’s tough-on-crime rhetoric, Democrats were enraged.
McCarthy found Democrats willing to cross party lines on other issues, including the creation of a select committee focused on U.S. competition with China, the demand that the administration declassify as much intelligence as possible about the origins of COVID-19, and the demand that the national pandemic emergency be ended immediately.
“He’s performed better than I thought he would,” Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., a past chairman of the Freedom Caucus whose members held off supporting McCarthy for a week. “I can’t complain.”
“Now there’s actually a check and balance,” added Eric Cantor, a former GOP congressional leader. “He is delivering that every day and very effective, obviously, at holding his troops together.”
“Tough job,” added GOP Rep. James Comer of Kentucky, chairman of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee, in remarks to the AP. “But he’s doing great.”
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“We are proud of him,” Rep. Andrew Clyde, R-Ga., a Freedom Caucus member who was among the holdouts. He added that the struggle McCarthy faced to become second in line to the presidency may make him “the best speaker” in his lifetime. CONTINUE READING…