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Rep.-elect Juan Ciscomani nominates McCarthy for House speaker on 10th failed ballot
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Rep.-elect Juan Ciscomani nominates McCarthy for House speaker on 10th failed ballot

Arizona Republican incorrectly claims to be first naturalized citizen from state to be elected to Congress

  • Rep.-elect Juan Ciscomani nominating Kevin McCarthy to be House speaker Thursday.
    CSPAN screenshotRep.-elect Juan Ciscomani nominating Kevin McCarthy to be House speaker Thursday.

U.S. Rep.-elect Juan Ciscomani, like all members not yet sworn in as a member of Congress, nominated Republican Kevin McCarthy to be the speaker of the House as the 10th round of voting began in the chamber Friday.

Ciscomani, a Republican elected for a first term from Tucson and Southeastern Arizona's CD 6, joined in what has become a long line of politicians to nominate McCarthy. The California Republican failed yet again to garner enough votes to take the speaker's gavel during that round.

It was Ciscomani's first opportunity to make public remarks in the House, and he made an incorrect claim.

Running down family themes familiar from his campaign speeches — including his father's work as a bus driver and Ciscomani having been a congressional intern — the Tucsonan then said "I am proud to stand here before you today as the first naturalized citizen in the history of Arizona to win a congressional seat."

Former U.S. Rep. Ron Barber is a naturalized citizen. Barber was born in England, and his mother was a World War II widow who later married a U.S. Air Force serviceman, who became his stepfather. The family moved to the United States in the 1950s, and Barber became naturalized when he was a teenager.

"I'm proud to be a naturalized citizen. My passion for American government started when I got here." Barber told the Sentinel on Thursday, declining to comment on Ciscomani's statement.

The leadership contest continued with McCarthy again falling short in the 10th round of voting Thursday afternoon.

The rules of the House of Representatives require that a speaker be elected by a majority of those voting, not just a plurality with the winner being the vote leader. Over the first nine rounds of voting over three days, it was Democrat Hakeem Jeffries who has led, with 212 votes from a united caucus. But that total is short of the 218 votes needed, if all members elected cast ballots.

McCarthy has garnered 200 or 201 votes in most tallies, with a group of about 20 holdout Republicans refusing to join in electing him speaker.

Three of those GOP members refusing to support McCarthy are from Ciscomani's Republican colleagues from Arizona: Reps.-elect Andy Biggs, Paul Gosar and Eli Crane.

Ciscomani didn't directly address the issue of those party members not voting for McCarthy, but said "being a representative isn't a job title, it's a job description. The eyes of the world are upon us as we air our grievances."

Ciscomini was joined by his children on the House floor, and received a hearty handshake from McCarthy.

The freshman Republican was welcomed by Rep.-elect Pete Aguilar, a member of the Democratic leadership and the House's highest-ranking Latino, who has nominated Jeffries through multiple rounds.

"I want to thank my colleague on the other side of the aisle for sharing his American Dream story and for his family for being here with him at his side," Aguilar said. "It is our hope that this chamber gets down to business so he and all the members in this chamber can be sworn in to do the work of the people."

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