WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican Party Chairman Kevin McCarthy GOP conservatives failed to win a new House speaker in a dramatic fourth-round vote Wednesday as the chamber sank into the second day of the new Congress with no end in sight to the political chaos created.
McCarthy did no better than he did on the opening day ballot as 20 Conservative holdouts rejected him with their votes. No minds seem to have changed, and he falls short of the usual 218 votes to win.
The California Republican vowed to fight on despite losing several rounds of voting that left the new majority a day earlier in disarray.
The House gave its nod at noon, and a McCarthy ally soon renominated him for the job.
“Certainly, it sounds confusing,” said Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis. But he said democracy is messy. “The American people are responsible.”
McCarthy himself entered the room and said, “Let’s take another vote.”
Democrats said their leader, Rep. The dynamic proved no different from day one, as Hakeem Jeffries was reinstated as speaker, and a right-wing leader from the Freedom Caucus issued a challenge to McCarthy — nominated by Rep. Byron Donalds, R-. Fla., in another history-making moment. Jeffries and Donalds are both black.
“This country needs leadership,” said Texas Republican Representative Chip Roy.
This is the first time in 100 years The candidate for Speaker of the House failed to win the first ballot, but McCarthy emerged unscathed. Instead, he vowed to fight to the end, encouraging former President Donald Trump to end the chaos and pull the Republican Party together.
Earlier Wednesday, Trump publicly urged Republicans to vote for McCarthy: “Close the deal, get the win,” he wrote on his social media site. He added: “Republicans, don’t turn a great victory into a great and embarrassing defeat.”
The council tried again on Wednesday Tuesday’s impasse brought all other business to a standstill as Republicans waited to pick a speaker.
“Today, the day I wanted? No,” McCarthy told reporters at the Capitol late Tuesday. Asked if he would leave, McCarthy said, “That’s not going to happen.”
President Joe Biden left the White House with Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell for a bipartisan event in Kentucky and said “the rest of the world is watching” the scene on the House floor.
“I think it’s very embarrassing that it’s taking so long,” Biden said. I don’t know who will win.
The erratic start to the new Congress pointed to the difficulties Republicans now have in control of the House.
There was tension among the new House majority as their campaign promises were halted. Without the Speaker, the House cannot be fully formed — swearing in its members, naming its committee chairs, engaging in floor proceedings and launching investigations into the Biden administration. Lawmakers’ families waited around, typically a festive day descending into chaos, with children playing in the aisles or squirming in their parents’ arms.
But it’s unclear how the beleaguered GOP leader can rebound to win over right-wing conservatives who reject his leadership. A 218-vote majority of the House is normally required to become Speaker — though the threshold can be lowered if members are absent or simply vote, and McCarthy appeared to be considering a strategy.
McCarthy won no more than 203 votes in three rounds of voting, losing 20 of his slim 222-seat seats to Republicans.
After 1923 the election of speaker did not go to multiple ballots, and the longest and most bitter fight for Cowell began in late 1855 and dragged on for two months during the debates over slavery before the Civil War with 133 votes. .
“Kevin McCarthy is not going to be a speaker,” said Rep. Rep. Bob Goode, R-Va., declared one of the holdouts.
A new generation of conservative Republicans aligned with Trump’s Make America Great Again agenda wants to promote business as usual in Washington and is committed to stopping McCarthy’s rise without concessions to their priorities.
In many ways, the far-right’s challenge is reminiscent of the Republican takeover of the House in 2010, when tea party Republicans brought hardball politics and shut down government after winning control in the 2010 midterm elections.
As the voting scene dragged on, McCarthy’s supporters demanded reservations in favor of the California Republican Party.
“We’re all here to get things done,” said the second-ranking Republican. Steve Scalise recommended McCarthy for the vote in a speech and urged his colleagues to drop their opposition.
Scalise, who could be the GOP compromise pick against Democratic President Joe Biden’s agenda, said, “We can’t fix those problems until we elect Kevin McCarthy as our next speaker.”
But the holdouts forced a third and final round of voting before Republican leaders quickly adjourned Tuesday evening.
“The American people are watching, and that’s a good thing,” said Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, who nominated fellow conservative Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio as the speaker’s replacement.
Jordan, McCarthy’s rival-turned-ally, was twice pushed forward by conservatives, but he didn’t want the job. The Ohio Republican chairs the Judiciary Committee, and he urged his colleagues to vote for McCarthy during a floor debate.
“We need to rally around him, come together,” Jordan said.
In all, 19 Republicans — and then 20 — voted for someone other than McCarthy. The first ballot sent votes to Arizona, Jordan and fellow representative Andy Biggs, while only Jordan received votes on the next two ballots.
The conflict over McCarthy has been brewing since Republicans won the House majority in the midterm elections. While the Senate remains in Democratic hands, House Republicans are eager to take on Biden after two years of Democrats controlling both houses of Congress. The conservative Freedom Caucus led opposition to McCarthy, believing he was neither conservative nor tough enough to fight Democrats.
To win support, McCarthy has already agreed to several demands from the Freedom Caucus, which has been fighting for rule changes and other concessions that would give the rank-and-file more influence in the legislative process. He has been here before, dropping out of the Speaker’s race in 2015 after failing to win over the Conservatives.
Late Tuesday, pizza, Chick-fil-A and tacos were carried into various meeting rooms at the Capitol after the failed vote, as McCarthy supporters and opponents huddled to figure out how to pick a speaker.
“Everything is on the table,” said McCarthy’s ally, Rep. Patrick McHenry, RN.C. – Besides, he said the leader should stand aside. “No. That’s not on the table.”
The chairman of the Freedom Caucus and leader of Trump’s bid to challenge the 2020 presidential election, Rep. Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., had previously said it was up to McCarthy to meet their demands and change the dynamic.
Democrats enthusiastically nominated Jeffries, who will be the party leader, as their choice for speaker. He got a total of 212 votes.
If McCarthy gets 213 votes and simply persuades the rest of the naysayers to vote, he can narrow the threshold required under the rules to get a majority.
It’s a strategy former House speakers used when Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Republican Speaker John Boehner faced opposition, winning by fewer than 218 votes.
McCarthy said at the Capitol late Tuesday: “You get 213 votes and other people don’t name it, that’s how you win.”