The congressman temporarily leading the House of Representatives as interim speaker is a top ally of Kevin McCarthy, who was ousted Tuesday from the speaker’s chair.
Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina became the speaker pro tempore and will preside over the vote and selection of the chamber’s next speaker after eight Republicans led by GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz joined Democrats in voting to remove McCarthy from the position.
As speaker pro tempore, the Republican can only recess the House, adjourn the chamber and recognize speaker nominations.
McHenry, a strong ally of McCarthy’s, played a key role in successfully negotiating the California Republican’s speakership in January by chipping away at some of the same hardline conservatives that opposed McCarthy’s leadership on Tuesday.
Under McCarthy, McHenry was also deployed as a top negotiator for House Republicans in securing an agreement with the White House to prevent the US from defaulting for the first time in history.
Born in Gastonia, North Carolina, McHenry received a bachelor’s degree in history from Belmont Abbey College and started his career in politics in 1998 after launching a failed bid for the North Carolina state House of Representatives.
Following his work on George W. Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign, he was appointed special assistant to the labor secretary in 2001, according to his congressional bio. McHenry was elected to the state House in 2002. In 2004, at age 29, he was elected to Congress, becoming one of the youngest lawmakers at that time. He won his 10th term last November.