US House fails to elect new speaker in first round of voting | Elections News


Kevin McCarthy failed to win a majority in the currently Republican-controlled chamber when he faced opposition from far-right lawmakers.

For the first time in nearly a century, the US House of Representatives failed to elect a Republican chairman in the first round of voting Kevin McCarthy failed to secure a majority in the room to succeed Nancy Pelosi.

Republicans narrowly took control of the room in November midterm electionsbut some right-wing lawmakers in McCarthy’s own party refused to support him at the first meeting of the new House of Representatives on Tuesday.

The speaker must obtain a majority of the vote, except for absent legislators and “present” voters. On Tuesday, McCarthy needed 218 votes, but he received only 202, with 19 Republicans voting against him — mostly for representatives Andy Biggs and Jim Jordan.

Before the vote, the far-right MP Paul Gosar nominated Biggs as a candidate, but Jordan was not seeking a speaker position and himself voted for McCarthy.

Democratic candidate, Congressman Hakeem Jeffriesreceived 211 votes – more than McCarthy – but in reality, he never ran for speaker with his party in the minority.

McCarthy, a Republican in California, has served as the minority leader since the Democratic majority in 2019.

Hakeem Jeffries
Democrat Hakeem Jeffries, of New York, received more votes than Kevin McCarthy in the first round of voting. [Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters]

The room, which will remain inactive until a new speaker is selected, will now host the next rounds of voting.

The Speaker of the House is second in line to the US presidential line of succession and is the country’s most powerful legislator with decisive influence over which bills and amendments will be considered.

The House of Representatives and the Senate make up Congress, which passes federal law, allocates government spending, and ensures oversight.

After the vote, Biggs – an Arizona Republican – called on McCarthy to “resign” and allow Republicans to choose another leader at the next vote.

“We only got through half of the votes before confirming that McCarthy is still 218 votes short,” he wrote on Twitter. “My colleagues have made it clear that our party deserves a new leader.”

McCarthy negotiated with politicians opposed to his running for speaker, offering concessions that would undermine his own power.

He has promised to focus on right-wing priorities, including investigating the business practices of President Joe Biden’s son, Biden Hunter — an issue that Democrats dismiss as a conspiracy theory.

Top Republicans have also called for Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to step down. migration at the southern border and threatened to investigate and impeach him.

Furthermore, he promised to restore the Georgia congresswoman’s committee duties Marjorie Taylor Greenewho was removed from the parliamentary panel in 2021 for his anti-Semitic and anti-Islamic comments.

He still hasn’t quelled the opposition to his bid from the far right.

Ahead of Tuesday’s first vote, McCarthy signaled his willingness to endure multiple rounds of voting. “I will always fight to put the American people first, not some individual who wants something for himself,” he told reporters. “So we can have a battle on [House] the floor, but the battle is for [Republican] conference and country, and that’s fine with me.”


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