Here’s a look at Thursday’s wild night on the House floor

November 19, 2021
In The News

It was a long night for members of the House Thursday as they listened to Republican leader Kevin McCarthy unleash a more than eight-hour speech that carried over into Friday morning.

McCarthy took to the floor as debate was wrapping up on the Democrats’ sweeping climate and social bill, a key priority for President Biden that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi intended to pass late Thursday before members of the House recessed for the Thanksgiving holiday.

But McCarthy’s lengthy speech, which broke Pelosi’s record for longest floor speech in modern history and at times veered into vitriol and dripping sarcasm, ultimately delayed the vote until the following morning.

With the help of politicians and journalists documenting the night on Twitter, here’s how it all went down.

— 8:38 p.m.

McCarthy began his speech at 8:38 p.m. Thursday night, outlining his opposition to the Build Back Better Act, which would funnel resources into climate initiatives, lower drug costs like insulin for Americans, and expand Medicaid, among other things.

— 10:15 p.m.

@RepValDemings: Kevin McCarthy has been ranting about #BuildBackBetter for over an hour. This is what he does when he has no agenda. Kevin and his conference haven't presented a single alternate idea to create jobs and cut costs for working families. Democrats deliver and Kevin talks.

— 10:29 p.m.

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Representative Jamie Raskin started an Instagram livestream to share their thoughts on McCarthy as he argued against climate change action.

— 10:40 p.m.

A few hours into McCarthy’s speech, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi seemed to be, quite frankly, over it. A member of her staff tweeted out a meme that perhaps encapsulated the speaker’s thoughts.

— 11:03 p.m.

@RepRaskin: I must admit Kevin McCarthy has accomplished one thing. America is no longer woke.

— 11:50 p.m.

About three hours and 12 minutes into his speech, McCarthy was only halfway through his binder. Ocasio-Cortez took the opportunity to speculate about its contents.

— 12:06 a.m.

As the speech carried on into Friday morning, Representative Cori Bush took a little break.

— 12:20 a.m.

Shortly after midnight Friday, Democratic leaders sent lawmakers home after McCarthy showed no sign of yielding control of the House floor.

@tedlieu: I can distill @GOPLeader Kevin McCarthy’s rambling, random speech into one question: why are Republicans opposed to lowering prescription drug prices?

— 4:43 a.m.

McCarthy took to Twitter to share some more thoughts on the Build Back Better agenda and his lengthy speech.

— 4:48 a.m.

Early Friday morning, McCarthy broke Speaker Pelosi’s record for the longest speech in House history which at that point had been 8 hours and 10 minutes long.

— 5:10 a.m.

At 5:10 a.m. McCarthy finally yielded his control of the floor, clearing the way for passage of Biden’s big domestic policy bill which was approved by the House at around 9:46 a.m. Friday.