One hour more and the 2021 US Congressional drama would have taken place on the same day, but two years later. Symbolism plays an important role in politics, particularly when it deliberately blurs the line between coincidence and intention.
If Kevin McCarthy had been elected Speaker of the House of Representatives just an hour and a minute earlier, his election would have coincided with the second anniversary of the attempted violent coup and overthrow of the country's constitutional order.
After 14 unsuccessful voting rounds, representative from California's 20th district Kevin McCarthy achieved his lifelong ambition, and on January 7, an hour after midnight, became the most important state Republican and second in line for the presidency.
He has risen methodically through the ranks, from House staffer and minority leader of the California Assembly, to entering the US Congress in 2006, where he later patiently advanced as chief deputy whip, whip, majority leader and GOP leader.
“My father always told me: it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish," said McCarthy, the son of a firefighter, when he took the House Speaker's gavel.
His inaugural speech has been in his pocket for days and might never have been read because of the persistence of 20 or so of McCarthy's Republican bloc colleagues not to endorse him. As they won one concession after another from the future chairman, McCarthy, without removing the smile from his face during all four dramatic days, finally sat at the House presidential table.
McCarthy will pay for the concession to the conservatives with the permanent instability of his leadership
What awaited him at the top? Was it as he has expected? There was no possibility for one representative to be able to start the initiative to replace the chairman. McCarthy will pay for this concession to the conservatives with the permanent instability of his leadership, because it can be called into question at any moment.
Although Republicans have a very slim four-vote majority in the House, this new solution may encourage any of the 20 conservative Republicans to launch a no-confidence motion against the speaker, stalling any other debate.
We’re going to see a perpetually unstable leadership that will be unable to move national security policy that is bipartisan because the speaker will be vacated immediately”, said Joel Rubin, a former official in charge of legislative affairs at State Department, according to Washington Post.
The Republican majority will dictate the agenda, which is a combination of revanchism towards Joe Biden and some aspects of the policy of Donald Trump
Judging by the inaugural speech, the Republican majority will dictate the agenda, which is a combination of revanchism towards Joe Biden's presidential administration, and some aspects of the policy of his predecessor Donald Trump.
In the legislative sense, this majority will scarcely be able to implement their initiatives, because they will hit the wall of the Democratic majority in the Senate, as well as President Biden's potential veto.
On the other hand, such a majority in the House, and particularly the balance of power within that majority displayed during the chairman election, herald great difficulties in passing laws that require the votes of both parties. This particularly applies to laws on funding, national security, and foreign aid.
With regard to the investigative agenda, the scope for action by the Republicans and the new chairman of the House is somewhat larger. He has already announced several important issues that will be dealt with by future congressional committees.
That list of topics has been vindictively directed at President Biden, so there is, for example, an examination of his role in the affairs of his son Hunter Biden, but also an investigation of the FBI's actions during the seizure of confidential documents from Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort. Committee hearings regarding the withdrawal of the US military from Afghanistan and the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic have also been announced.
Donald Trump's political spirit will also be present in the agenda of the new House chairman, since he announced the effort to find a way to "return hundreds of thousands of jobs from China to America" through bipartisan decisions, as an important topic of his presidency. Trump's presidential agenda is reflected in the House's new majority and the new chairman on the issue of stopping illegal migration across the US southern border.
One of the winners of the marathon vote for the Speaker of the House is certainly Donald Trump
No matter how difficult the realisation of the announced moves of the new chairman, the next two years in the House will be important because of positioning within the Republican Party. One of the winners of the marathon vote for the Speaker of the House is certainly Donald Trump, who supported the election of Kevin McCarthy, even convincing some of the conservative representatives to stop obstruction and vote for his party colleague.
Trump’s agenda, which he implemented during his presidential term and which he wants to use in order to re-enter the presidential race, will be high on the agenda of the 118th Congress, thanks to the new chairman, and particularly thanks to the group of conservatives.
During the election drama in the House, conservatives have proven to be the biggest winners, due to their blackmail potential, which has ultimately led to the weak leadership of the Speaker, and fulfilling their political platform.
This group succeeded in something that, fortunately, Trump's Stormtroopers failed exactly two years ago. They introduced the same policy in Congress, only in a different way. They obtained it legally, at the main entrance and with the support of a majority: narrow, but still a majority.
“Many of the same members who aided Trump in that would-be coup are leading this disaster as well. The insurrection is dead; long live the insurrection”, said the New Yorker's Susan B. Glasser.