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Who is Patrick McHenry, the new interim Speaker of the House of Representatives?

McCarthy's dismissal comes at a critical time, with several investigations underway and a potential government shutdown looming.

¿Quién es Patrick McHenry, el flamante presidente interino de la Cámara de Representantes?

De línea moderada, McHenry será quien encabece la transición tras la era McCarthy. | (Cordon Press)

This October 3, 2023, will be remembered as the day in which a speaker of the House of Representatives was removed for the first time in the entire history of the United States.

Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), thanks to the vote of eight hardline Republicans who joined the Democrats, was sentenced by 216 votes in favor of the motion to vacate presented this Monday by Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL). The support of 210 Republicans was not enough to keep his position.

Now, an ally of his, Congressman Patrick McHenry (R-NC), will serve as the new interim Speaker of the House until a definitive successor is found. His first image as speaker gave a lot to talk about: a furious blow with the gavel to declare a recess in the legislative chamber.

Patrick McHenry: a moderate institutionalist

McHenry, 47, is already a legislator with extensive experience in the House of Representatives. He was elected in 2004, at the age of 29, and despite having a long career in cable television programs, his role in Congress has been that of a conciliatory legislator, with a low profile, who always seeks the most viable and institutional option to keep organization and Government functioning.

In fact, McHenry was key to achieving the agreements with the Democrats that angered the most conservative Republicans in the House, such as the consensus to increase the debt ceiling and the recent provisional spending law that avoided the closure of the federal government in extremis.

Likewise, among the possible candidates to replace McCarthy, McHenry is the only one who voted in favor of certifying the 2020 presidential elections. He would also be the most moderate option of all, a situation that makes it unlikely that he will be McCarthy's successor. McHenry despite being an ally of former President Donald Trump and toughening his speech in recent months, was not conservative enough for hardline Republican congressmen.

According to Fox News, the North Carolina congressman's record in leadership positions is not that extensive. In 2015, he was elected vice head of the Republican caucus in the House of Representatives, a position he held for four years. And this year, in January, after Republicans regained the majority, he was selected as chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, far from one of the most important committees.

As interim speaker, he has all the powers of the speaker of the House of Representatives to try to guide it in its operation at an extremely delicate moment, with several investigations by the committees underway and with a potential government shutdown that remains on the horizon.