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Who is Patrick McHenry, the House speaker pro tempore?

Analysis on the fallout after McCarthy ousted
Analysis on fallout after House Speaker Kevin McCarthy ousted 03:43

In a move so swift and unceremonious even regular observers of Congress needed to pay close attention, Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry became the new speaker pro tempore, moments after Kevin McCarthy was ousted from the speakership on Oct. 3. 

As the stalemate to bring a new House speaker stretched on, Rep. Jim Jordan failed to get enough votes in two votes over two days. It's unclear how long he'll continue to go to the floor, since he appeared to be losing support after the first vote. CBS News' Robert Costa reported on Wednesday that some Jordan critics inside the House Republican conference have decided to stagger their votes, so the votes against Jordan grow with each round.

A key GOP source texted Costa on Wednesday that "all roads lead to McHenry," indicating that momentum was growing for expanding the role of speaker pro tempore while Republicans sort out who will lead the lower chamber. 

McHenry's name was at the top of a secret list McCarthy submitted when he became speaker in January, and, according to House rules, McHenry became McCarthy's successor on Oct. 3 with an announcement from the House clerk. McHenry will serve as speaker pro tempore until the House elects a permanent speaker. 

But Americans who aren't close observers of the House might not know who McHenry is. 

Who is Patrick McHenry?

McHenry, 47, has represented North Carolina's 10th congressional district since 2005. 

A longtime McCarthy ally, McHenry enjoys broad support and respect from the Republican conference, espousing conservative views while avoiding the fringes of the party. McHenry nominated McCarthy for speaker during the grueling, 15-round saga of McCarthy's January election. 

Rep. Kevin McCarthy shakes hands with Rep. Patrick McHenry after McHenry nominated him in the 14 round of voting for speaker on Friday, Jan. 6, 2023.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy shakes hands with Rep. Patrick McHenry after McHenry nominated him in the 14 round of voting for speaker on Friday, Jan. 6, 2023. Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

McHenry's district encompasses an area west and north of Charlotte. He and his wife have two daughters. Born in Gastonia, North Carolina, McHenry attended North Carolina State University and Belmont Abbey College. He was the national coalition director for George W. Bush's presidential campaign in 2000. In 2002, he won a seat in North Carolina's General Assembly. 

What has McHenry done in Congress?

McHenry currently serves as the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. Before that, he served as the House GOP's chief deputy whip. McHenry's office touts his role in the passage of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the Trump and former House Speaker Paul Ryan-era law that significantly lowered corporate tax rates. 

McHenry was a lead Republican negotiator on debt ceiling negotiations this spring, and played a significant role in brokering a deal with Democrats to avoid default.

McHenry also authored a law, signed by former President Barack Obama, to help entrepreneurs by providing the opportunity for startup employees to sell their stock options to private investors. The North Carolina Republican works on combining finance and technology to expand access to capital for small businesses. 

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