After the fight, will McCarthy hold any power?

The sharpest opinions on the debate from around the web

Kevin McCarthy.
(Image credit: Illustrated | AP Images, Getty Images)

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) held on to win the House speakership in the 15th vote, but to do it he had to give in to a series of demands from 20 far-right hardliners, including members of the Freedom Caucus. Some of the concessions could come back to haunt him, including one allowing a single lawmaker to launch a bid to oust the House leader. Others addressed more popular changes, including giving members of Congress at least 72 hours to read bills before they have to vote on them, and holding votes on all 12 spending bills, instead of lumping them all together in omnibus packages used to hide special-interest funding.

After the 14th ballot, McCarthy exchanged heated words with holdout Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.). Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) lunged toward Gaetz, but was restrained by another lawmaker. McCarthy backer Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) said the challengers "degraded and just diminished and insulted" McCarthy. Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) said the extended process "was about empowering people — empowering rank-and-file members." After finally winning, McCarthy said Republicans had settled their differences and would now unite. In a first test for McCarthy, the House adopted its overhauled rules despite some members' concerns about McCarthy's concessions to the hardline rebels, and then passed a bill seeking to cut IRS funding. Can McCarthy hold the GOP together, or did his fight for the speaker job weaken him too much?

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Harold Maass, The Week US

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at The Week. He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 debut of the U.S. print edition and served as editor of when it launched in 2008. Harold started his career as a newspaper reporter in South Florida and Haiti. He has previously worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami Herald, ABC News and Fox News, and for several years wrote a daily roundup of financial news for The Week and Yahoo Finance.