GOP’s McCarthy loses seventh vote with no breakthrough in sight

WASHINGTON – Leader of the Republican Party in the US House of Representatives Kevin McCarthyR-Calif., lost its seventh vote for Speaker of the House on Thursday, despite conceding some new demands from its far-right opponents.

The final outcome of Saturday’s vote was largely unchanged from the previous three’s votes. Democratic minority leader Hakeem Jeffries received the highest share of the vote, 212 from a unanimous Democratic caucus.

McCarthy received 201 votes, just as he did in the last two on Wednesday. Republican Representative Byron Donalds of Florida, McCarthy’s favorite candidate, received 19 votes. That’s one vote less than Wednesday, because former Donalds supporter and Florida Representative Matt Gaetz instead cast a single vote for former President Donald Trump. Indiana GOP Rep. Victoria Spartaz voted “present.”

Under House rules, members can technically nominate and elect anyone to be a speaker, not just lawmakers currently serving in the House.

An eighth vote was expected, although there was little sign that McCarthy’s fortunes would improve to the point where he could win the 218 votes needed to secure the hammer.

By contrast, an influential McCarthy supporter, Representative Scott Perry, Pa., posted an angry tweet shortly after the vote, accusing McCarthy of disclosing details of internal negotiations.

Perry’s tweet appeared to contradict McCarthy’s comment, made shortly before the vote, that there was “really good progress in the dialogue” going on with members of the bloc opposing the role. his fake.

“I think everyone in the conversation wanted to find a solution,” McCarthy said on her way into the House of Commons to vote.

The constant absence of a speaker has plunged the House of Commons into turmoil, largely because ordinary members cannot take the oath of office until a speaker is elected and cannot establish local office. their local or Washington. This leaves all 434 members of the House of Representatives technically still elected members, not official voting representatives.

Ahead of Thursday’s vote, Democratic leaders criticized Republicans for party dysfunction, highlighting the harms of going for days without a chairperson. The House of Representatives is inflicting on the legislative branch and the nation.

“We can’t organize our county offices, let our new members do the political work of our election services, help serve the people who sent us to here on their behalf,” Katherine Clark, D-Mass., incoming Democrat, told reporters at the Capitol Thursday morning. “Kevin McCarthy’s ego in pursuit of the right to speak at all costs is drowning out the voices and needs of the American people.”

Democrats also emphasize that the absence of speakers threatens the national security of the United States by preventing members of Congress from accessing classified intelligence that is only made available to lawmakers law after they were sworn in, which neither of them could do without a speaker.

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“In the end, all we’re asking Republicans to do is figure out how to organize themselves so that Congress can unite and do the business of the American people,” said Minority Leader. Hakeem Jeffries, DN.Y. , said in a press conference with Clark.

She accused McCarthy of “being held hostage to her own ambitions.”

“This is your responsibility to organize government. It is fundamental to our being members of Congress,” Clark said.

McCarthy, meanwhile, negotiated Wednesday night with both his allies and opponents to try to strike a deal that could get him the hammer, after six failed votes on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“I think we’re making progress,” McCarthy said on his way into the Capitol on Thursday morning, according to NBC News. “I think people are talking and that’s a good sign. I think that’s very good. Look, we’re all working together to find a solution.”

McCarthy’s latest concessions paved the way for a new round of voting scheduled to begin Thursday at 12 p.m. ET..

US House of Representatives Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) reacts on the floor of the House of Representatives with Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) as Democrats force the House to vote on Should the late-night session continue as McCarthy wished, while the competition for Speaker of the House continued, on the second day of the 118th Congress at the U.S. Capitol. United States in Washington, USA, January 4, 2023

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

However, it remains unclear whether the promises made will translate into any changes to Thursday’s vote count.

According to NBC News, the first major concession McCarthy agreed on Wednesday was to change the rules that would allow any member of the party to call for a vote on whether to replace the speaker of the House at any time. or not, a threshold much lower than the current bar. .

“Anyone, any place, any time,” was how Gaetz, one of McCarthy’s most staunch opponents, described the new rule to NBC Wednesday night.

Gaetz also said McCarthy has agreed to appoint members of the far-right House Freedom Caucus to positions on key committees, including the powerful House Rules Committee, which controls what bills are put on the floor for a vote and which bills are voted on indefinitely in committees. .

The change satisfied another request from the far right, that its members be given more power to bring their favorite bills to the House of Commons.

Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) speaks animatedly to other conservative Republicans of the House in the middle of the House Chamber after the fourth round of voting still failed to elect the Republican Leader of the United States House of Representatives. United States Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) as the new Speaker of the House on the second day of the 118th Congress at the United States Capitol in Washington, U.S., January 4, 2023.

Evelyn Hockstein | Reuters

McCarthy’s allies did not deny that he had agreed to the new concessions, NBC reported, but they declined to confirm specifics.

“It’s about movement and positive movement,” Representative Patrick McHenry, R-NC, told NBC News and other reporters camped outside the boardroom Wednesday night. “We had an afternoon that turned into an evening of very active discussions and it seemed that goodwill around Republicans and McCarthy was forming in a very good way.”

The limited progress comes after McCarthy failed by six votes in two days to reach the minimum required to become a speaker, in this case 218 votes, if all 434 members were to be elected. upcoming House of Representatives votes.

Not only did McCarthy fail to reach 218, but over the course of 48 hours, McCarthy’s support actually dropped from 203 to 201, after two members of his caucus, Florida Representative Byron Donalds and Indiana Congressman Victoria Spartaz, changed their vote.

Meanwhile, Democrats remained unanimous throughout the ballots, unanimously voting for Jeffries on all of their 212 votes.

Upcoming Democratic Party Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), incoming Democratic Party Katherine Clark (D-MA) and incoming Democratic Party Chairman Pete Aguilar (D-CA) hold a meeting newspaper on Capitol Hill in Washington, USA, December 13, 2022.

Elizabeth Frantz | Reuters

This is a developing story and will be updated throughout the day.


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