US Home Speaker Kevin McCarthy guarantees to deal with immigration, “woke” training insurance policies and IRS funding

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) addresses the House of Representatives for the first time after being elected Speaker of the US House of Representatives in a late 15th round on the fourth day of the 118th Congress at the US Capitol in Washington, USA , January 7, 2023.

Jon Cherry | Reuters

Newly-elected Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy took the chamber’s gavel after weeks of fighting within his own party, pledging to implement a conservative, America-first agenda, address the immigration crisis at the Mexican border, and appropriations at the IRS to cut back and fix the “awakened indoctrination in our schools”.

After 14 failed votes since Tuesday, the California Republican overcame opposition after making extraordinary concessions to a small bloc of far-right holdouts who refused to back his bid as speaker.

McCarthy laid out an ambitious plan when addressing the 118th session of Congress early Saturday morning, saying he wanted to “take control and create some balance” for President Joe Biden’s policies. He said the first legislation he plans to tackle will remove funding from more than 87,000 new IRS agents. He highlighted immigration reform as a top priority and said the Republican-controlled House of Representatives will hold some of its first hearings of the year on the southern border.

“Stop ignoring this crisis of security and sovereignty,” he said. “We have to secure our border.”

Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) bangs on the Speaker’s gavel for the first time after being elected the next Speaker of the US House of Representatives in a late-night 15th round of voting on the fourth day of the 118th Congress in the US Capitol in Washington , United States, January 7, 2023.

Evelyn Hockstein Reuters

McCarthy claimed he will pass legislation that will solve “urgent” problems in the nation with an America-first approach. In addition to immigration, he said he wanted to address “America Last” energy policies and “awakened indoctrination” in schools, noting that children should come first and be taught to “dream big.”

He added that he also plans to address long-term challenges like debt and the Chinese Communist Party, and reiterated his commitment to law enforcement and law enforcement.

McCarthy said this week’s tense showdown on the floor of the house was proof he’s not someone who gives up easily.

“You know — my dad used to tell me, ‘That’s not how you start, that’s how you end,'” he said. “And now we must finish strong for the American people.”

Though his election marked the end of a long week and night in Washington, McCarthy said it was also a fresh start for the nation.

Republican members-elect celebrate the election of Republican House Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) on March 7th.

Anna Moneymaker | Getty Images

Biden congratulated McCarthy on his election as speaker of the House of Representatives in a statement issued just before 1 a.m. ET.

“Jill and I congratulate Kevin McCarthy on his election as Speaker of the House,” Biden said. “I’m willing to work with Republicans if I can, and voters have made it clear that they expect Republicans to work with me, too,” he added.

Other Democratic leaders were less congratulatory for McCarthy’s victory.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., said in a tweet Saturday that “Speaker McCarthy’s dream job could become a nightmare for the American people.”

House Democrat Cori Bush of Missouri said the GOP elected a spokesman who facilitated the violent riot in the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

“McCarthy sold his gavel like he sold our democracy – to white racist insurgents,” she said in a tweet on Saturday. “This is not a tour.”

In a news conference early Saturday morning, McCarthy thanked former President Donald Trump for his support and said he was critical in securing the final votes McCarthy needed.

“I don’t think he should, everyone should doubt his influence,” McCarthy said. “He was with me from the start.”

Trump has publicly expressed his support for McCarthy on his social media platform Truth Social Saturday. The former president said the Republican Party had come together and it was “a beautiful thing to see.”

“The process of selecting ‘spokespersons’, as crazy as it may seem, has made everything much bigger and more important than if it were done the more conventional way,” he said. “Congratulations to Kevin McCarthy and our BIG Republican party!”

Senate Republican Chairman Mitch McConnell also shared his support for McCarthy Saturday, saying in a tweet that Senate Republicans look forward to working with him.

McCarthy’s first task as speaker was to swear in the other 433 members of Congress who have been in limbo as elected members since Tuesday, when the 118th Congress first opened. After all the new members were sworn in, the House of Representatives approved the new set of rules McCarthy negotiated with the far-right Republicans.

McCarthy said negotiations had been difficult given tight margins in the majority, but his victory showed the Republican Party could work together.

“I think what you’re going to see when you have that now is that we’ve worked out how we can work together,” he said.

— CNBC’s Christina Wilkie contributed to this report

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