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U.s. House Adjourns Without a Speaker After Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy Loses Three Votes
Kevin McCarthy Loses Three Votes: The United States House of Representatives adjourned for the day Tuesday without a speaker after Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., failed to secure enough votes in three consecutive votes to be elected to the post.
The failed votes marked the first time in 100 years that the House majority party did not elect a speaker on the first ballot. McCarthy’s staunch opposition from a core group of Republicans grew stronger throughout the day, throwing the party into disarray. Meanwhile, Democrats appeared to be enjoying the spectacle of their opponents being so deeply divided.
During each of the three voice votes, every Democrat on the floor united behind incoming Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-New York. However, a group of conservative Republicans broke away from the party to support other candidates, including longtime McCarthy ally Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio.
McCarthy actually lost support as the election progressed, when in the third round, Florida Republican Rep. Byron Donalds announced his support for Jordan after voting twice for McCarthy. As a result of Donalds’ defection, McCarthy won 202 of the 218 votes needed to secure the post in the third round, one vote less than he had in the first two ballots.
Jordan, who nominated and voted for McCarthy, won 20 votes in the third round. Jeffries, the incoming Democratic minority leader, won 212 votes in each of the three rounds. Following the vote, Donalds suggested that his caucus refrain from voting.
“The reality is that Rep. Kevin McCarthy does not have the votes,” Donalds tweeted. “I committed my support to him publicly and for two votes on the House Floor. The number is 218 and no one is currently present.
“Our conference needs to recess and huddle in order to find someone or work out the next steps,” Donalds wrote. “Once the dust settles, we will have a Republican Speaker; now is the time for our conference to debate and reach an agreement.”
McCarthy’s failure to gain public support from his entire caucus has cast a shadow over the new Republican majority, exposing long-hidden divisions within the party. Former President Donald Trump exacerbated the divide by emboldening a small group of ultra-conservatives.
McCarthy’s bid for speaker was eventually supported by Trump and other influential conservatives such as Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga. Despite the ex-clout president’s within the Republican Party, McCarthy was defeated again and again. Following the failed votes on Tuesday, Trump declined to endorse McCarthy with the same zeal that he had previously.
“We’ll see what happens,” Trump told NBC News, when asked directly if he was sticking with the GOP leader. “I got everybody calling me wanting my support. But let’s see what happens.”
The atmosphere on the House floor Tuesday began brightly and energetically, thanks in part to the presence of members’ children and family members, many of whom had come to witness what they expected to be swearing-in ceremonies. But as the day progressed, it became more tense. The rest of the chamber’s members-elect cannot be sworn in until a speaker is elected, because the speaker administers the oath of office.
While the House held multiple rounds of voting, Washington Sen. Patty Murray was sworn in as Senate president pro tempore, making her the first woman in American history to hold the position.
While technically the vice president is the president of the Senate, the president pro tem preside over the chamber on a daily basis, signing legislation and administering oaths of office.
The Senate pro tem is also typically third in line for the presidency, after the vice president and the Speaker of the House. But on Tuesday night, with no speaker elected in the House yet, Murray temporarily became second in line.
McCarthy had earlier pledged to continue holding votes for as long as it took to win 218 votes, effectively calling his opponents’ bluff.
However, after the third vote, both Democrats and Republicans appeared to be eager to leave their seats. Unlike most votes, where members can vote in absentia, the speaker vote must be held in person, with no opportunity for members to come and go.
With no immediate resolution to the Republican impasse in sight, the House held a voice vote on a motion to adjourn that was unanimously supported by both parties. McCarthy’s conservative opponents continue to have a long list of demands that they believe McCarthy has not met.
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