Kevin McCarthy’s temporary replacement as US House leader is one of the ousted speaker’s most trusted lieutenants, Patrick McHenry.
(Bloomberg) — Kevin McCarthy’s temporary replacement as US House leader is one of the ousted speaker’s most trusted lieutenants, Patrick McHenry.
McHenry, 47, the congenial chairman of the House Financial Services Committee who is known for his penchant for bow ties and policy acumen, will preside over deliberations on a new speaker.
The North Carolina Republican’s first act upon taking the dais Tuesday after McCarthy’s removal was to advise members of each political party to meet to deliberate on choices for speaker. The interim speaker then loudly banged a ceremonial gavel to place the House in recess.
McHenry, who has denied interest in the House speaker post, has been an influential McCarthy adviser and negotiator.
He was first on a secret list of backup speakers McCarthy submitted when he became the House leader, a requirement imposed after the Sept. 11 terrorist attack raised questions about succession in an emergency.
McHenry played a crucial role in brokering the debt-ceiling deal averting a US default earlier this year. He helped launch McCarthy into the speakership and was a key intermediary in persuading hardline Republicans to drop their opposition to McCarthy, which dragged the January election out to 15 rounds of voting.
He’s well liked among House Republicans. Representative Tom Cole, who defended McCarthy on the House floor Tuesday, has said McHenry is “absolutely indispensable” and “a guy that everybody in every corner of the conference trusts.” He’s also earned praise from Republican hardliners for listening to their concerns.
McHenry role on the Financial Services panel has given him a deep understanding of financial markets and he’s known shown willingness to work with Democrats on the committee. He decided against a formal role in McCarthy’s leadership team, choosing instead to lead the finance panel to focus on banking and cryptocurrency policy.
McHenry first came to Congress in 2005 as a 29-year-old who was at the time the youngest lawmaker.
He arrived with an aggressive style, looking to change how Washington operated. He is now at the inner circle of power and faces a new generation of young upstarts who want to take power from the Republican establishment.
–With assistance from Erik Wasson.
More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.