Members of the 118th Congress Take Oath of Office after McCarthy Sworn in as Speaker
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Representative Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was sworn in as the new House Speaker just past 1:30 a.m. Eastern Time on Saturday, after nearly four days of intra-party Republican infighting.
As he entered the House Chamber to loud cheers from fellow lawmakers and family members following his 15th-ballot election, McCarthy received the speaker's gavel from the new House Minority Leader Hakim Jeffries (D-NY), who said, "It is now my solemn responsibility to hand over the people's gavel to a son of Bakersfield, a former small business owner, a proud product of a firefighter's household. The gentleman from the great state of California and the next speaker of the 118th Congress, Kevin McCarthy."
McCarthy pounded the gavel once as the House applauded, then joked, "That was easy, huh?" It was a reference to the most hard-fought election for speaker since Civil War days.
In his remarks, the speaker promised Jeffries that although they might have passionate differences over issues, it would never be personal. He cited America's constitutional system of checks and balances and said the Congress would provide "balance" to some of the Biden administration's policies.
McCarthy also referred to the legislative battles ahead, saying, "We will hold the swamp accountable. From the withdrawal of Afghanistan to the origins of COVID and to the weaponization of the FBI."
After his address, he took the oath of office. As McCarthy raised his right hand, the Dean of the House of Representatives, Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY), asked him, "Do you solemnly swear that you will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that you will bear true faith and allegiance to the same, that you take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, and that you will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which you're about to enter. So help you God?"
McCarthy answered, "Yes, I do." Rogers then told him, "Congratulations and Godspeed."
The new speaker then administered the same oath to the members of Congress present in the chamber. Afterwards, lawmakers hugged and shook hands as a prelude to the start of the 2023-24 session.
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