Kevin McCarthy finally acceded to the perch of the American House of Representatives on Saturday after a laborious process, marked by very strong tensions between Republicans who are weakening their opposition to Democratic President Joe Biden.
After four days of an unprecedented mess in Congress, the group that was paralyzing the nomination of the fifty-year-old from California finally gave in.
But the scenes of chaos that have marked the hemicycle – the shouting, the hubbub, the pointing fingers – foreshadow very agitated debates in Congress over the next two years.
On the menu in the next few months, negotiations on the raising of the American public debt ceiling, the financing of the federal state and, potentially, on the release of additional envelopes for the war in Ukraine.
By congratulating Kevin McCarthy in the middle of the night on Saturday, Joe Biden immediately called on him to “govern responsibly and in the interests of Americans”.
Without controlling the two chambers, which had been the case since his inauguration in January 2021, although with a very slim majority in the Senate, the American president can no longer hope to pass major legislation.
Buried, therefore, his great promises of a federal law enshrining the right to abortion, a ban on assault rifles, or a vast electoral reform to protect the access of minorities to the vote.
But with a Senate in Democratic hands, Republicans will also not be able to unravel the measures passed under Joe Biden that they had promised to tackle. With their new control of the House, however, the Republicans have promised to launch a host of investigations into Joe Biden’s handling of the pandemic or the withdrawal from Afghanistan.
“It’s time to exercise control over the president’s policy,” said Kevin McCarthy from the hemicycle just after being sworn in and replacing Democrat Nancy Pelosi in this post.
Facing a hostile but messy House could prove to be a political boon for Joe Biden, if he confirms his intention to run again in 2024 – a decision he is due to announce at the start of the year.