As the House entered Day Two of the new Congress, Republican leader Kevin McCarthy again came up short in the dramatic fourth round of voting, and there appears to be no end to the political instability that GOP conservatives have caused.
McCarthy did no better than he did on the first day of voting, as he received the votes of 20 conservative holdouts who opposed him.
No one’s opinions seemed to have changed, and he received significantly fewer votes than the 218 required to take the gavel.
The California Republican promised to continue fighting despite losing in several voting rounds that caused the new majority to disarray the day before.
McCarthy’s ally promptly re-nominated him for the position with a resolution after the House convened at midday.
Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., acknowledged that it appeared disorganized. But he added that democracy is messy. “The people of America are in command.”
We’ll have another vote, McCarthy announced as he entered the room.
But the dynamic remained the same since Day One, with Democrats nominating Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, their leader, for speaker, and a right-flank leader from the Freedom Caucus challenging McCarthy by putting out Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., in another momentous nomination.
Jeffries and Donalds are both Black people.
Rep. Chip Roy, a Texas Republican, remarked, “This country needs leadership,” noting that two Black people were nominated for high office for the first time in history.
Lawmakers from both parties stood to cheer.
McCarthy didn’t seem daunted by the fact that it was the first time in 100 years that the nominee for House speaker couldn’t assume the gavel after the first vote. Instead, he promised to battle to the bitter end, saying that former President Donald Trump had encouraged him to end the chaos and unite the Republican Party.
Trump publicly urged Republicans to support McCarthy by writing, “CLOSE THE DEAL, TAKE THE VICTORY,” on his social media account early Wednesday.
“Republicans, do not turn a great victory into a terrible and embarrassing defeat,” he continued.
After Tuesday’s impasse effectively put all other activities on hold while waiting for Republicans to choose a speaker, the House made another attempt on Wednesday.
Is this the day I wanted to have today? After several sessions behind closed doors on Tuesday evening in the Capitol, McCarthy told reporters, “No. When asked whether he would withdraw, McCarthy responded, “It’s not going to happen.”
President Joe Biden stated that “the rest of the world is looking” at the situation on the House floor as he left the White House for a bipartisan event in Kentucky with Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell.
Biden remarked, “I think it’s highly embarrassing that it’s taking so long. Who will win? I have no idea.
With Republicans now in control of the House, the new Congress got off to a chaotic start, signaling problems to come.
The new House majority became tense as their campaign pledges stagnated.
The House cannot completely organize without a speaker, which prevents it from swearing in its members, appointing committee chairs, holding floor discussions, and starting investigations against the Biden administration.
Families of lawmakers had waited while the often joyful day degenerated into mayhem, with children running down the aisles or wriggling in their parents’ arms.
However, it was hardly noticed how the besieged GOP leader could turn things around and win over right-flank conservatives who disapprove of his leadership.
Usually, it requires 218 votes to become speaker of the House, but the number might go lower.