WASHINGTON ( Associated Press) – House Republicans had a second day of fruitless voting Wednesday, unable to elect their leader Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House or come up with a new strategy to end the political chaos. Its new majority.
And yet, McCarthy did not give up, even after the fourth, fifth and sixth ballots failed to produce better results and he tried to cancel the one-night session. Even that was controversial, as the House voted 216–214—amid hoopla and riots—to adjourn until the next day.
Shortly before leaving a long closed-door meeting with his own party colleagues and opponents, McCarthy said, “There is no deal yet.” “But a lot of progress has been made.”
However, no progress was apparent during the day, as Republicans tried to elevate McCarthy to the position of speaker of the legislature. The vote yielded roughly the same result, with 20 Conservatives continuing to refuse to support him, leaving him far short of the 218 votes normally needed to be appointed Speaker of the House of Representatives.
In fact, his support fell to 201, as a fellow Republican voted only to be present.
Seeing no quick way out of this political impasse, Republicans suddenly voted to adjourn for a few hours at the end of the day as they desperately sought a solution to the chaos they had created. They were due back in the night, but McCarthy wanted to rest until Thursday.
“I think people need to work a little harder,” McCarthy said. “I don’t think a vote tonight will change things. But a vote in the future might.”
But even a simple motion to adjourn turned into a row on the floor, with Democrats and some Republicans pushing for a vote.
McCarthy, a delegate from California, vowed to fight for the presidency to the end despite the pathetic spectacle. Lively private discussions took place on the floor and in meetings throughout the Capitol as McCarthy supporters and detractors sought a way out.
“Well, it’s Groundhog Day,” said Rep. Cat Cammack, a Florida Republican, nominating McCarthy on the sixth ballot.
He added: “To all the Americans watching us now: We hear you. And we will get through this, no matter how hard it is.”
But right-wing conservatives led by the Freedom Caucus and aligned with Donald Trump seemed buoyed by the impasse, although Trump publicly supported McCarthy.
“This is truly an invigorating day for America,” said Rep. Byron Donalds, another Republican from Florida who was nominated three times as an alternative by his conservative colleagues. “There are a lot of members in the chamber who want to have a serious conversation about how we can end this and elect a president.”
The chamber resumes work in the afternoon, but no other work can be done — swearing in new members, forming commissions, taking up bills, scrutinizing the Biden administration — until the president is elected.
McCarthy said at the start of the session, “I’m still polling the highest.” “Eventually, we will be able to achieve this.”
But the dynamic was unchanged from day one, as Democrats renominated their leader, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, for president, and the Donald mounted his challenge to McCarthy in another historic moment. Jeffries and Donald are both black.
“This country needs leadership,” said Texas Republican Representative Chip Roy, noting that it was the first time in history that two black Americans were nominated for a contested seat, and lawmakers from both parties Applause
It is the first time in 100 years that a candidate for Speaker of the House of Representatives has not been chosen on the first ballot, but McCarthy seemed unfazed. He promised to fight till the end.