On the 15th ballot, which commenced just before midnight EST, California Rep. Kevin McCarthy was elected the 55th speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. He will succeed Democrat Nancy Pelosi, also from the Golden State.

Earlier in the day, a number of the 20 holdouts who had refused to vote for him agreed to support McCarthy on the 12th ballot, but he was still several votes short. Later in the afternoon, Rep Andy Harris (Md.) added his name to the list of McCarthy supporters, bringing him within striking distance of the speaker’s gavel.

McCarthy reportedly agreed to major concessions, convincing the holdouts to support him. “I think we hammered out a historic agreement that’s going to change the way Washington does business,” Harris told Fox News’ Laura Ingraham.

Concessions reportedly include:

  • A single member can move to “vacate the chair”
  • A hard line on the debt limit
  • Votes on term limits and border security
  • McCarthy’s leadership PAC will stay out of open primaries
  • “Open rules” on spending measures, and the ability to bring up stand-alone appropriation bills
  • Discretionary spending cap
  • A commitment to set up a committee on the “weaponization” of the government

After a recess, the House reconvened for a 14th ballot. Rep. Lauren Boebert, one of the most vocal holdouts, voted present, lowering the threshold for a McCarthy win. Reps. Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Eli Crane (Ariz.), Bob Good (Va.), Andy Harris (Md.), and Matt Rosendale (Mont.) all refused to vote for McCarthy the 14th time around. Rep. Ken Buck (Colo.), who was absent for the votes earlier in the day, added to McCarthy’s total. Matt Gaetz, who did not respond when his name was first called, voted “present” on the second call. Still, McCarthy came up one vote short. The final tally was: McCarthy 216, Democrat Rep. Hakim Jeffries 212, Others 4, Present 2.

A motion was made to adjourn until Monday, and it appeared that it would succeed, but in a moment of high drama, Gaetz, after speaking with McCarthy on the floor, ran to the dais, apparently to vote nay on adjournment. That set off a flurry of vote switches, and the motion failed.

In the 15th round of voting, Boebert and Gaetz again voted present, as did holdouts Biggs, Crane, Rosendale, and Good, lowering the threshold for a McCarthy win, which he secured at 12:31 a.m. EST. The final vote tally was McCarthy 216, Jeffries, 212, Others 0, Present 6.

“Therefore,” the clerk announced, “the honorable Kevin McCarthy of the state of California, having received a majority of the votes cast, is duly elected speaker of the House of Representatives.” The chamber erupted in cheers and shouts of “USA! USA!”

Related: D R A M A in the House Vote for Speaker Kevin McCarthy

Rep. Dan Bishop (N.C.), who switched to McCarthy in the end, said, “We’ve got an agreement” to change how the House operates… It’s a transformational agreement.”

“We can finally stop the $1.7 trillion omnibus appropriation bills,” he added. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.)

As a result of the contentious battle between the always- and never-McCarthy factions, McCarthy will be on a much shorter leash than he had likely expected. It’s a huge victory for conservatives in the caucus, who will now have greater control over the Republican agenda and the rules in the House.

McCarthy will be sworn in by the dean of the House early Saturday morning. He will then swear in the 118th U.S. House of Representatives.

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