Who is Patrick McHenry, the new speaker pro tempore?

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.

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 Tuesday with an announcement from the House clerk. McHenry will serve as speaker pro tem 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.

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 Republican leader, and 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 fomer 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 and avoiding 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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