Empower Wisconsin | Jan. 9, 2023
By M.D. Kittle
MADISON — The 15th vote was the charm for U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). But Wisconsin’s Republican House members had the new Speaker’s back from the first vote.
As McCarthy finally claimed enough votes for his narrow victory early Saturday morning (on the 15th ballot), U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil (R-Janesville) tweeted a photo of himself holding the last tally with the celebratory message, “McCarthy Wins!”
“Speaker McCarthy has worked hard to tackle the issues facing American families and has worked harder than anyone to end one-party rule by winning a House Republican majority,” Steil declared. “I am proud to support him for Speaker of the House.”
All six members of Wisconsin’s Republican House delegation backed McCarthy on each of the ballots, as a normally perfunctory speaker election turned into a week-long battle between about 20 anti-establishment conservatives and McCarthy backers.
A deal brokered with enough of the holdouts brought McCarthy the victory he had long sought.
Not everyone was ready to celebrate. Not everyone was as confident as Steil in McCarthy’s leadership.
“You better hold his feet to the fire, Bryan. No more do-thing uniparty Speakers like Paul Ryan. Wisconsin is watching!” one conservative tweeted in response to Steil’s tweet.
U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Allouez) said it was time to put the Republican Party feud behind the new GOP-controlled House and get down to work.
“While this process may have been messy, there was something quintessentially American about what happened on the House floor this week,” he said. “For the first time in years, members weren’t going to fundraisers or lunches with lobbyists – they were on the House floor, engaging with each other, and debating the foundation for the next two years of this Congress.
“The institution would be better served if more legislation involved the same energy we’ve seen over the past few days.”