The 118th Congress was formally inaugurated early Saturday morning by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who also presided over the chamber’s swearing-in of new members.
Following a dramatic week in which 20 Republicans who had earlier opposed his speakership switched their votes to other members, he was elected speaker.
McCarthy praised himself after winning the fifteenth and final vote, saying, “I believe one thing is apparent after this week: I will never give up. For you, the people of America, I will always fight. And I’ll never stop working to uphold our commitment to America.
He concluded his opening remarks by saying, “Our country is worth fighting for.
McCarthy thanked his colleagues for their support as he took the gavel as Speaker of the House and expressed his goals for bringing the legislative body together.
“You know, my father always used to say: It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. And now we must finish strong for the American people,” he remarked.
“My primary obligation as Speaker of the House is not to my conference, my party, or even our Congress. My responsibility, and our responsibility, is to our nation,” the Californian said. “You chose to move our country on a new path by voting two months ago. You welcomed our dedication to America. We will now honor our promise to you.
Hakeem Jeffries, D-NY, the House Democrats’ choice for Minority Leader, received a warning from him during his remarks.
“If the son of a fireman and the grandchild of immigrants can ascend to the highest position in the most significant legislative body in the world, and if my colleague Hakeem Jeffries with his life story can rise to lead his party, then opportunity and democracy still thrive in America,” McCarthy said.
“To Leader Jeffries, there will be occasions when we agree and many others when we disagree,” he continued. We will have impassioned discussions, but we won’t ever get personal. And now comes the challenging part. The tone for all that comes after will be set by what we do here today, next week, next month, and next year.
Keneem – I must warn you: Two years ago, on this floor, I also received a unanimous vote of support from my conference. Good luck then! McCarthy said in jest.
McCarthy also listed his goals for the current Congress, which included looking into China, safeguarding the nation’s border, and trying to reduce some of the $31 trillion in national debt.
The debt and the Chinese Communist Party are two other issues that we shall explore. The House Speaker emphasized that Congress must take a unified stance on these two problems.
He promised to create a “secure nation” and contribute to the creation of a “future built on freedom.” McCarthy also aimed to establish a “government that is accountable where Americans get the answers they desire, need, and deserve.”
We have checks and balances built into our system. The President’s policies need some balance, so it’s up to us to act as a check and balance. Making it possible for American families to live the life they deserve is the most important thing, according to this quote.
Additionally, he pledged to “stop wasteful Washington spending to reduce the cost of groceries, petrol, automobiles, and housing, as well as to stop the nation’s debt from rising.”
By releasing dependable, abundant American-made energy, McCarthy continued, “We commit to reduce the regulatory load, lower energy costs for families, and create good-paying employment for workers.” “Our first proposal would eliminate money for 87,000 additional IRS agents. Because the government ought to be there to assist you rather than to pursue you.
The U.S. Capitol Building, which remained mostly inaccessible to the public after the riots on January 6, 2021, was also promised to be reopened by the Republicans.
Republicans erupted in roaring applause as he declared, “My friends, this chamber is now totally open for all Americans.” Democrats in the room made no comments.
Republican members applauded when the line was said.
McCarthy concluded by saying, “Our nation is worth fighting for. It is worthwhile to fight for our rights. Our goals are worth the fight. It is worthwhile to fight for our future.