Biden congratulates Kevin McCarthy on winning House speakership following dramatic process


President Joe Biden released a statement congratulating House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who was officially elected just after midnight Saturday morning. He was sworn in about an hour later. 

“Jill and I congratulate Kevin McCarthy on his election as Speaker of the House. The American people expect their leaders to govern in a way that puts their needs above all else, and that is what we need to do now,” Biden said.   

McCarthy’s victory came after days of lengthy deliberations in the House of Representatives, which started Tuesday and culminated with a dramatic pair of votes overnight Friday into Saturday. 

“As I said after the midterms, I am prepared to work with Republicans when I can and voters made clear that they expect Republicans to be prepared to work with me as well.  Now that the leadership of the House of Representatives has been decided it is time for that process to begin,” Biden added.

Incoming House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of Calif., holds the gavel on the House floor at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, early Saturday, Jan. 7, 2023. 
(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

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After McCarthy won the speakership, he briefly shared remarks which included his legislative priorities in the 118th session, including securing the southern border, slashing spending, and creating a bipartisan committee on China.

Dean of the House Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky., swears in Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., as House Speaker on the House floor at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, early Saturday, Jan. 7, 2023. 

Dean of the House Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky., swears in Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., as House Speaker on the House floor at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, early Saturday, Jan. 7, 2023. 
(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Biden too offered his priorities in his congratulatory remarks. 

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The president said: “Today we learned that my plan to build an economy that works from the bottom up and the middle out has achieved the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years. And that we made 2021 and 2022 the best years for job growth on record.”

“It’s imperative that we continue that economic progress, not set it back. It is imperative that we protect Social Security and Medicare, not slash them. It is imperative that we defend our national security, not defund it. These are some of the choices before us,” he continued.

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Biden also said the country could do “profound things” when it does them “together.”

Incoming House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of Calif., receives the gavel from House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries of N.Y., on the House floor at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, early Saturday, Jan. 7, 2023. 

Incoming House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of Calif., receives the gavel from House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries of N.Y., on the House floor at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, early Saturday, Jan. 7, 2023. 
(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

“This is a time to govern responsibly and to ensure that we’re putting the interests of American families first,” the president concluded.

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McCarthy won the speakership in a 15th and final vote, receiving 216 of the 428 votes. Six members, all Republicans, voted present. 

After McCarthy was sworn in, the House and all its newly sworn-in members passed a resolution officially notifying the president of McCarthy’s victory and allowing communication from the White House.



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