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U.S. Representative Kevin McCarthy listening to U.S. Representative Elise Stefanik just after McCarthy became Speaker of the House on January 7, 2023.

U.S. Representative Kevin McCarthy listening to U.S. Representative Elise Stefanik just after McCarthy became Speaker of the House on January 7, 2023. | Photo credit: C-SPAN

January 9, 2023

What Speaker McCarthy’s Concessions to a Tiny Group of Republicans Means for the Nation

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Summary

After four days of defeats, Republican Kevin McCarthy was finally elected as speaker of the House on the 15th vote, the most attempts since before the Civil War. His dramatic victory came after a series of concessions that will give hardline conservatives greater influence in the House. For a transcript of this story, click here.

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Discussion Questions

  • Who is Kevin McCarthy?
  • What are some of the reasons it took Speaker McCarthy 15 rounds of voting to be elected speaker?
  • Where and When did elections for McCarthy take place?
  • How might the additional spots of Freedom Caucus members affect the Rules Committee and what Congress is able to accomplish?
  • Why is there such a division between members of the Republican party?

Focus Questions

Given what you’ve learned about American democracy and how government works growing up, are you surprised or not surprised by the issues that surrounded the election for speaker of the House?

Media literacy: In addition to the political scientist (someone who’s an expert on public policy and government), who else do you think the NewsHour should have interviewed? Why?

Additional Exercise

Find out other elements of the story. This is where your media literacy skills play an important role. The debacle over Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s election came at the same as the two-year anniversary of Jan. 6, when extremists ransacked and rioted at the U.S. Capitol over false claims of election fraud in the 2020 presidential election. Learn more about McCarthy’s different messaging about the Jan. 6 insurrection in the video below (April 22, 2022) and his support for former President Donald Trump, who supported McCarthy’s election bid to speaker of the House. What questions do you have following the video?

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Republished with permission from PBS NewsHour Classroom.

PBS NewsHour Classroom

PBS NewsHour Classroom helps teachers and students identify the who, what, where and why-it-matters of the major national and international news stories.

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