Last week, members of both the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate were sworn in to begin the 118th Congress. While members of the Senate were sworn in on January 3, the House remained in turmoil over the failure to elect a new Speaker of the House, preventing members of the House from being sworn in and beginning their tenure until the early morning hours of Saturday, January 8.
Representative Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) finally earned enough votes to win the Speakership after 15 rounds of voting. His victory comes with compromises, however; there will be significant rules changes in the House this year, including a rule that allows any one member to call a motion to vacate the Speaker chair and rules on how spending bills must be passed. The failure to swiftly elect a leader and begin legislative business will surely prove to be a sign of many power struggles to come in the 118th Congress.
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