Kevin McCarthy Stymied Again For Speaker As He Fails To Get Majority Vote On Third Ballot– Update



UPDATE: Kevin McCarthy again failed to secure enough votes to be elected Speaker, and actually lost ground on the third ballot.

Twenty Republicans voted against him, with Rep. Byron Donalds shifting his vote to Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) from McCarthy.

Democrats again played up their unity in backing Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) for speaker. And their side was generally more jubilant, as members clustered together to meet children and other family members in the chamber as guests. Republicans were more subdued, meeting in smaller groups of one or two, apparently to try to come up with a solution to their impasse.

McCarthy actually left his seat before the latest roll call was completed.

PREVIOUSLY: The House is taking a third try on electing a new Speaker, with little sign that votes are shifting to Kevin McCarthy.

Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), tapped to serve as majority leader in the 118th Congress, nominated McCarthy this time around, but that was countered by Rep. Chip Roy’s nomination of Jim Jordan for the leadership post. Roy said that current leadership does “not have the tools to stop the swamp from rolling over the American people.”

“What we are doing is exercising our rights to vote and have a debate,” Roy said.

Members showed signs of getting weary over the protracted vote, as some slumped in their seats and a number of kids on the floor looked utterly bored.

As the third roll call proceeded, there were some digs at the GOP holdouts. When he stood to cast his ballot for McCarthy, Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-MI) said that he was voting for him “because I am interested in governing.”

PREVIOUSLY: Kevin McCarthy’s bid to become speaker was in further doubt as he failed to garner a majority in a historic second ballot for the leadership post.

There was no movement in his direction. Nineteen GOP members again voted against him, this time casting their ballots for Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), even though Jordan himself endorsed McCarthy.

In the latest ballot, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) emerged with the most votes for speaker, but had only a plurality of those present. A majority is needed, something that is unlikely to happen given the new GOP majority in the chamber.

PREVIOUSLY: The House is now going to a second ballot for speaker.

Kevin McCarthy is hoping that he’ll be able to muster additional support when Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), who has been one of his critics, urged members to vote for him.

But very quickly McCarthy’s prospects were put in doubt again as Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) rose to nominate Jordan, giving McCarthy’s detractors a figure to rally around. Standing just a few feet away from McCarthy, Gaetz slammed him, characterizing him as someone who had “sold” himself in order to obtain the leadership post.

In fact, even though Jordan gave a speech endorsing McCarthy and urging members to “rally around him,” Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-CA) was admonished by the House clerk as he suggested that Jordan’s speech was really to pump himself up for the top spot.

Among the GOP members present is George Santos, the New York representative-elect who has admitted to lying about his background. He sat in a back row, chatting with another member but largely staying to himself.

Another member also present was Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), who announced last week that he was diagnosed with lymphoma. Wearing a mask, he stayed off to the side, standing near Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS). Thompson chaired the January 6th Committee, and Raskin was one of its members.

As the vote continued, Democrats again murmured as votes were cast against McCarthy. Some brought their young kids down the aisle, and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rose from her seat to chat with Seth Magaziner, a representative-elect from Rhode Island, and his toddler.

PREVIOUSLY: Kevin McCarthy failed to secure a majority to become House Speaker, as the historic leadership vote headed to a second ballot for the first time in a century.

Nineteen Republicans voted against McCarthy, the California Republican who has long dreamed of the speakership. What was surprising was not just that he fell short, but the number of those in his own party who cast their ballots against him.

Democrats were united behind their choice, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), who secured the most votes for speaker — 212 — even though the party no longer has the majority. But the next speaker has to have secured a majority, not a plurality, of those present.

News networks covered the roll call, one of the rare moments of genuine suspense on the floor, where the outcome is often pre-ordained.

McCarthy largely stared straight ahead and watched as the House clerk conducted the roll call, occasionally smiling at times.

He got an ovation from a majority of fellow Republicans as he stood and announced his vote for himself, but it was still far short of what he needs. Based on the number of members present — 434 — that would be 218 votes. Instead, McCarthy got 203. Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), who also was nominated for speaker, got 10 votes, while six members voted for Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH). Three other votes went to other GOP figures.

The vote is critical not just for House leadership, but any business at all in the chamber. A speaker has to be selected before new members are sworn in.

As the roll call was conducted, Democrats seemed to relish in the moment. Members-elect were allowed to bring family members to the floor, including young children. Some were spotted playing in the aisle during the roll call. When any GOP member cast a vote against McCarthy, murmurs could be heard on the Democratic side. “I vote for the current vote leader, Hakeem Jeffries,” said Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), to some applause.

Some of McCarthy’s supporters vowed to fight on. When she voted, Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY) said, “No matter how many times it takes, Kevin McCarthy.”

PREVIOUSLY: Much of the political media is fixated on the House of Representatives on Tuesday, where Republican divisions threaten to prevent Kevin McCarthy’s long desire to serve as speaker — and may stall any business at all in the lower chamber of commerce.

After a contentious meeting of the House GOP caucus, McCarthy acknowledged to reporters that “we may have a battle on the floor but the battle is for the conference and the country, and that is fine with me.”

His remarks came after members of the ultra-conservative Freedom Caucus expressed their opposition to McCarthy even after he made extensive concessions, including lowering the threshold required to call a vote to replace him at any time.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), who has been a key ally to McCarthy in lining up support on the right, said that she was “furious” at the holdouts. In extended remarks to reporters, she called out individual members as hypocrites or working in their own self interest.

One apparent holdout, Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) complained to reporters after the caucus meeting that they were “being sworn at instead of being sworn in,” while there appeared to be little movement toward McCarthy among those who have long expressed their opposition. CNN’s Manu Raju reported on air that Boebert used the expletive “Bulls—” as her response to McCarthy’s speech to members, urging them to vote for him.

The vote stands to produce a rare moment of genuine suspense on Capitol Hill where the outcome of a vote is uncertain and unclear, particularly if McCarthy fails to secure a majority. Then, the House would have to go to another ballot until he, or anyone else, is able to do so. Members must announce their vote as the roll call is read.

The vote is critical to getting the House to conduct any business, as members of the 118th Congress cannot be sworn in until a speaker is selected. McCarthy needs a majority of the members voting to secure the speakership, something that has been in doubt because his party will hold just a slim 222-212 majority when Congress convenes.

Shortly before noon ET, outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in fuchsia suit, drew extended cheers from Democrats, and applause from even Republicans, as she gaveled out the previous Congress. It marked the end of 20 years in congressional leadership. As the new Congress convened, one Democratic member could be heard, saying loudly, “Let the show begin.” That reflected the contrast between Pelosi’s tenure, in which she exercised great discipline over the party caucus, and that of the incoming GOP majority, with significant fissures over their leadership direction.