118th Congress Takes 2023 by Storm


Photographer Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA

Cesar Nunez, Features editor

This year’s transition of the 118th Congress has not been a typical transition of power. You may have heard of the holdouts that happened in Congress. Congress holdouts happen when congress can’t agree on a speaker of the house and you have to have 218 votes in a house of 435 U.S. representatives. Kevin McCarthy is being elected by the Republicans as speaker of the house, he has reached 213 votes and would need 5 more. He serves for the 23rd congressional district in California and he ran for Speaker of the House in 2015, but dropped out. 

After the 3rd day of voting and the 11th gavel struck in the first week of the new year, there was still no House of Representatives leader. With 9 votes recorded, this was the longest voting period for a House of Representatives Leader since 1923, with the longest being in 1856 with the 34th Congress, which had a total of 133 votes over the course of two months. 

Kevin McCarthy was in a predicament in which 20 ”far-right-republicans” refused to vote for him. “Far right-Republican” refers to members of the Republican party who staunchly and unapologetically support the former President Donald Trump, his policies and political rhetoric. Dan Crenshaw, a Republican from Texas has called  Republicans not voting for McCarthy “enemies,” he said, “They have made it clear that they prefer a Democrat agenda [over] a Republican one.” Many among the Republican party were angered by the 20 “far-right-Republicans,” and they saw many of them as “traitors.” McCarthy was able to become speaker of the house, but he ended up giving away much of his power to the 20 voting against him. Kevin McCarthy gave the 20 members who were voting against him the power to call a vote to oust the current speaker of the house. There were also some closed door deals in which we don’t know much about. It is thought that one of these deals is something that can give more power to them in the legislative process.

Something that Kevin McCarthy wants to do is roll back the IRS funding boost. What this means is that the IRS has had major support from the Democratic party; they have gotten around $80 billion from the Democratic party and McCarthy believes they should “repeal 87,000 IRS agents (employees).” Kevin McCarthy has also been wanting to investigate the Secretary for Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas. Many “hardline-conservatives” blame the problems at the southern border on Biden’s administration officials. McCarthy didn’t exactly say that he should resign, but instead said “Republicans will not use impeachment for political purposes.” McCarthy had even recommended the Secretary instead of visiting the border, should just resign or will have to undergo investigations. McCarthy has been vocal about his dislike for the Homeland Security Secretary. As of this publication date, the Republican majority in the House of Representatives have repealed the IRS funding boost. The next two years will be very interesting to watch to see how this new congress works with the Biden Administration and the Democratic Senate to get things done.