Kevin McCarthy Biography, Career, Book, Wife, Children

The current Speaker of the House is Congressman Kevin McCarthy. McCarthy began his political career as a legislative intern in 1987 and worked his way up through the California Assembly to the United States House of Representatives, where he was elected in 2006. McCarthy, who has been House Speaker since January 2023, has worked with the Biden administration to address the 2023 financial issue and prevent the first-ever national default. McCarthy is a staunch supporter of Donald Trump, and his involvement in the former president’s investigations is being scrutinized.

Early Life

Kevin Owen McCarthy, the youngest of three children, was born on January 26, 1965, in Bakersfield, California. Owen McCarthy Jr., an assistant fire chief in the Bakersfield Fire Department, and Roberta McCarthy, a homemaker, are his parents. Kevin has three generations of Bakersfield ancestors. His great-grandfather, Jeremiah McCarthy, was a cattle rancher in Kern County after emigrating from Ireland. Kevin went to Bakersfield High School and played tight end for the football team.

McCarthy enrolled in Bakersfield Community College after high school but dropped out a year later. McCarthy, then 19, leveraged a $5,000 lottery prize in 1984 to launch Kevin O’s Delicatessen in the corner of his uncle’s frozen yogurt restaurant. He sold the deli in 1987 and used the earnings to further his education, enrolling at the University of California-Bakersfield in 1989 and earning an undergraduate business degree and a master’s degree in business administration in 1994.

Entering Politics

McCarthy’s interest in politics began in 1987, when he interned with his local congressman, Bill Thomas, who served in the Republican U.S. House from 1979 to 2007. McCarthy later joined Thomas’ staff, a post he occupied for 15 years. McCarthy also chaired the California Young Republicans club in the 1990s and the Young Republican National Federation from 1999 to 2001.

McCarthy was first elected to the Kern County Community College District Board of Trustees in 2000. He was elected to the California Assembly in 2002 and, at the age of 38, became the Republican minority leader. McCarthy was elected to his mentor’s seat in the United States House of Representatives in 2006, following Thomas’ retirement.

U.S. House of Representatives

McCarthy believes in helping individuals to achieve the American Dream via hard effort, decreasing government regulations, and cutting government spending and taxes, citing his working-class upbringing and small-business experience owning his deli. During his time in the House, he has sat on various committees, including Ways and Means, Oversight and Accountability, and Judiciary, where he has authored or supported legislation that is consistent with his agenda.

McCarthy’s ascension in Washington has been swift. He was made chief deputy whip after only two years. He was elected House majority leader six years later, in 2014. McCarthy appeared to be on track to become House Speaker by 2015. The ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus, a group of Republican and former Tea Party members created earlier that year, was responsible for Speaker of the House John Boehner’s resignation in September, claiming that he withheld committee assignments from their members. (The next month, Boehner resigned from Congress.) McCarthy eventually dropped out of consideration due to a lack of votes.

McCarthy was named minority leader after the Republican Party lost the 2018 midterm elections, succeeding House Speaker Paul Ryan.

Speaker of the House

When Republicans reclaimed the House majority in January 2023, a struggle for House Speaker erupted. McCarthy was elected speaker of the House after several days of controversial voting (15 total, the most in 164 years). To obtain the position, he made significant concessions to the Republican Party’s far-right fringe, indicating that maintaining control of his party and its majority in the House could be difficult.

McCarthy, on the other hand, demonstrated his ability to make a deal with Democrats to avoid a U.S. debt default catastrophe during his first big test of leadership. The House passed the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023 on May 31 and the Senate on June 1. Ultimately, 102 Republicans, including members of the Freedom Caucus, voted against the plan, upset that McCarthy did not push for more budget cutbacks. President Biden signed the agreement into law on June 3, effectively ending the crisis and hailing the negotiations a bipartisan triumph.

Relationship with Donald Trump

McCarthy, as a Republican House leader, defended President Donald Trump during the run-up to his first impeachment for urging Ukraine to investigate potential 2020 presidential opponent Joe Biden. He wrote to then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, doubting the credibility of the impeachment investigation. His plea fell on deaf ears, but Trump was acquitted by the Senate in February 2020.

Trump was impeached for the second time on January 13, 2021, just one week before his tenure expired, on a single count: encouraging an insurgency. McCarthy publicly condemned Trump and his role in the January 6 Capitol attack. McCarthy said on an audio recording of a conversation with a group of Republican leaders, “I’ve had it with this guy.” McCarthy avoided challenging Trump in public for fear of retaliation not only from the voter bloc that supported Trump, but also from many other Republicans.

McCarthy ignored a subpoena issued by the House Committee on January 6, 2022, to discover more about his conversations with Trump prior to and during the Capitol insurgency. It’s unclear whether McCarthy is participating in any of the Justice Department investigations into Trump’s involvement in the January 6 attack and potential election manipulation in Georgia and other states. He has stated that any federal prosecution of the former President will be investigated by Congress.

Personal Life and Book

McCarthy married Judy Wages, his high school sweetheart whom he met in his sophomore science class, in 1992. They live in Bakersfield, California, in their first home together. Connor and Meghan are the couple’s two children.

McCarthy co-wrote Young Guns, A New Generation of Conservative Leaders, which was published by Simon & Schuster in September 2010. They explain their plans for moving the Republic party forward in the book.

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