Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) was elected speaker of the House early Saturday morning after four days and 15 ballots, resuscitating a chamber that had been paralyzed as it endured the longest struggle to elect a leader since before the Civil War.
McCarthy’s long-delayed triumph marks the high point of a congressional career he began as a staffer for former Rep. Bill Thomas more than three decades ago.
But the Republican leader’s victory came at a price. To secure the votes required to succeed fellow Californian Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) as speaker, McCarthy had to agree to compromises that dramatically weaken the power of the post.
The deals McCarthy struck with a group of fewer than two dozen hard-line Republicans will empower the far right of his party ahead of a congressional term that promises contentious battles over funding the federal government and increasing the debt ceiling.
Kent Nishimura is a former staff photographer with the Los Angeles Times, based in Washington, D.C. Born in Taiwan, Nishimura immigrated to the United States, grew up in Hawaii and is a graduate of the University of Hawaii at Manoa. His work has been recognized by Pictures of the Year International, the National Headliner Awards, the White House News Photographers Assn. and the National Press Photographers Assn., among others. He has worked on staff at newspapers across the United States and freelanced for many national and international publications before joining The Times in 2017.