Republican leader Kevin McCarthy repeatedly failed in his bid to be elected Speaker of the US House of Representatives
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Republican leader Kevin McCarthy repeatedly failed in his bid to be elected Speaker of the US House of Representatives on a day of political drama not witnessed in Congress in a century. On Tuesday evening, the House adjourned without electing a speaker, the first time this had happened since the first round of elections in 1923. The beginning of a new Congress was meant to be the Republican Party’s victory lap after winning control of the lower chamber in the elections held in November. Instead, Mr. McCarthy encountered an internal uprising and made history for all the wrong reasons.
For the first time in a century, the US House of Representatives failed to elect a speaker on the first ballot on Tuesday as a Republican revolt paralyzed Congress. Kevin McCarthy was not elected speaker of the 435-member House because 19 staunchly conservative Republicans abstained from voting for him.
McCarthy lost a second vote on Tuesday night with the same 19 Republican rebels voting against him. Mr. McCarthy, 57, who represents a seat in California, has already given the right wing of his party a number of concessions. As a result, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Donald Trump, as well as some of the former president’s prominent congressional supporters, supported him.
The California congressman has so far lost three consecutive votes for speaker, and it’s uncertain how he might succeed when the House reconvenes on Wednesday. They will keep voting until a majority is reached. Analysts caution that even if Mr. McCarthy finds a way, the unrest on the House floor portends a turbulent two years of conflict between moderate and right-wing Republicans.
Negotiations gave him a weak appearance.
Republicans narrowly won control of the House in November, so Mr. McCarthy’s bid to become Speaker was successful with a small margin of victory. That made it possible for a group of staunch conservatives to unite and oppose his nomination.
Republicans who follow politics claim that the rift has been building for a while.
One Republican lobbyist who wanted to speak openly about Tuesday’s vote requested anonymity. “Kevin McCarthy has not made friends with certain segments of the caucus for a while, he’s made a lot of enemies,” the lobbyist said. There are those who dislike him for both personal and political reasons.
McCarthy engaged in negotiations with those who oppose him because they believe he is too mainstream and power-hungry, making concessions in an effort to win their support. He reportedly agreed to change the House rules at one point to make it simpler to remove a Speaker who is in office, giving his rivals a significant check on his authority.
The Republican lobbyist claimed that the fact that the man was even negotiating with the Republicans “made him look very, very weak to the point of being desperate.”
His adversaries grow more confident.
On Tuesday 3 Jan, it became apparent that the strategy was fruitless. Mr. McCarthy failed to receive the necessary 218 votes in three consecutive votes. Republicans currently hold 222 seats, but a group of 19 hard-right Republicans has united to oppose him. They disagree with Mr. McCarthy on ideological and personal grounds, but they also see a chance to take advantage of the Republican Party’s slim majority to compel him to make more concessions.
Representative Rob Good, a Republican from Virginia, told reporters on Tuesday that they would “never back down.” Just moments after Representative Jim Jordan nominated Mr. McCarthy for Speaker, they even nominated Mr. Jordan’s challenger, Rep. Jim Jordan, in one of the day’s most dramatic moments.
In the third round of voting, even after Mr. Jordan, a prominent member of the hard-right Freedom Caucus, urged Republicans to “rally around” Mr. McCarthy, 20 Republicans still voted for Mr. Jordan, denying Mr. McCarthy the victory. In the meantime, Democrats stuck together behind their party’s new leader, New York Representative Hakeem Jeffries. A few couldn’t resist publicly making fun of their Republican counterparts’ trying afternoon. Democrats were “breaking the popcorn out,” claimed one congressman, Ruben Gallego of Arizona, in a tweet that included a picture of the snack as proof.
What choices does McCarthy now have?
Theoretical speculation about how this could all turn out has started among political observers in Washington. Their predictions to the BBC ranged from the realistic (Mr. McCarthy fights through and prevails, but leaves the contest severely depleted) to the completely improbable (he bows out and backs his second in command, Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana). One suggestion was almost fantastical (five Republicans decide to vote for Mr. Jeffries, a Democrat, and deliver him control of the House).
Right now, according to Ruth Bloch Rubin, a political scientist at the University of Chicago who specializes in partisanship, Mr. McCarthy is “basically hostage to one side of his party.”
Although Mr. McCarthy has vowed to stop making concessions, he might not have a choice. He could offer lucrative committee assignments or new leadership positions in an effort to sway recalcitrant lawmakers.
Aaron Cutler, a lobbyist who formerly worked for former congressman Eric Cantor, another politician who was overthrown by conservative opposition, said, “He’s got to give the people who are against him something to hang their hat on.” However, the other Republican lobbyist was of the opinion that there was “absolutely no path to victory, period.”
On Wednesday, members will meet once more, but it’s uncertain whether the impasse will end.
Representative Lauren Boebert of Colorado, one of the conservative holdouts, told reporters, “We haven’t heard anything new from McCarthy.” Then I suppose we’ll just keep doing this.”
McCarthy is too liberal, according to the Gang of Five.
But Mr. McCarthy was opposed by a group of equally fervent supporters of Mr. Trump’s “Make America Great Again” program. Congressmen Matt Gaetz of Florida, Andy Biggs of Arizona, and Bob Good, a self-described “biblical conservative” from Virginia, were among the “gang of five” hardliners.
Gaetz stated: “Nothing that Kevin [McCarthy] actually believes. He lacks any ideologies.” In their campaign against Mr. McCarthy, the “gang of five” claimed he wasn’t conservative enough. They claimed he would obstruct pro-MAGA candidates for Congress in 2024 and would not pursue inquiries into Joe Biden and his son Hunter thoroughly enough.
Stop continually fighting each other
Last night, as it appeared that there would be additional ballots, Mr. McCarthy tried to persuade the 19 rebels to change their minds. Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel urged her party to “stop constantly fighting each other.” She uttered: “Why can’t we get a speaker after winning the House? The citizens of the nation are asking what is going on and why this party can’t get its act together as they observe this.”
Recently, Mr. Trump claimed that some of his own congressional supporters were engaging in a “very dangerous game”. He referred to Mr. McCarthy as “My Kevin.” But whatever the final result, it appeared to be favorable for Mr. Trump.
Speaker second in line for the presidency
If Mr. McCarthy ultimately received insufficient support on subsequent ballots, he might be replaced by a contender who is even more reliant on the “gang of five” who back Donald Trump.
In the November midterm elections, Republicans won a slim majority in the House.
As a result, Mr. McCarthy could afford to lose only four Republican votes from his own party because all of the Democrats in the chamber supported Hakeem Jeffries as their leader.
In addition to having power in the House, the speaker is the vice president’s next in line to become president.
Former House Republican aide Doug Heye stated: “This is much more significant than just one individual. The question is whether the Republicans will be able to lead.”Former Barack Obama chief strategist David Axelrod said: “This indicates two years of chaos. It foretells dire consequences for the nation.”
Kevin McCarthy’s campaign for House Speaker is still alive, and here’s why.
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For the first time in a century, Republican nominee Kevin McCarthy was defeated after three rounds of voting to become the next Speaker of the House of Representatives. Currently, in recess, the House will vote once more on Wednesday. The historic defeats do not put an end to Mr. McCarthy’s campaign right away. However, it’s unclear how he will persuade 20 Republican rebels to support him.
US House in chaos after no speaker elected
The representative from California could only afford to lose four votes from his party because there are only 222 Republicans in the chamber this year. He received only 203 votes in each of the first two rounds, and in the third round, an additional Republican defected. Earlier in the day, a defiant Mr. McCarthy told reporters, “We stay in until we win,” and by evening, he was still adamant that he would become Speaker if he kept talking to his members and fixed their “small problems.” Representative Hakeem Jeffries of New York, the party’s leader, received support from all 212 Democrats.
What follows next?
After more than five hours of speeches and voting, members decided to try again tomorrow. The House will continue voting for Speaker until a candidate is elected. Before selecting a Speaker, the chamber must conduct all other business. New Congressmen must be sworn in, and new laws and regulations must be adopted.
The number of voting rounds necessary to decide the contest is still unknown. If no agreement is reached, the process might last for days. The last time a speaker candidate failed to win the required number of votes in the first round of voting was in 1923. The process of choosing a Speaker required nine votes and several days.
Why is McCarthy facing opposition?
In the past, speakers have faced challenges as they took office in a new Congress, but they were able to unite their caucus by the time the official vote rolled around. But since Republicans took control of the House in the midterm elections last November, Mr. McCarthy has encountered opposition from hard-right members of his own party.
The holdouts, who oppose McCarthy as a speaker for ideological and personal reasons, have spent weeks haggling with Mr. McCarthy in an effort to gain concessions, like alterations to the process for ousting a speaker from office.
Representatives Andy Biggs of Arizona, who has put himself forward as a potential but unlikely candidate, and Matt Gaetz of Florida, who spent a large portion of the previous Congress living in fear of a federal investigation, are leading the pack. In the first round, Mr. Biggs received 10 votes, while nine Republicans supported other candidates.
The 19 Republicans came together in support of Jim Jordan of Ohio in the second round; in an odd twist, Mr. Jordan had nominated Mr. McCarthy. Mr. Jordan’s score actually rose to 20 in the third round, raising the issue. Tucker Carlson, a well-known member of the right-wing cable news community, summed up the discontent with Mr. McCarthy as follows: “McCarthy isn’t particularly Republican. He has no particular ideologies. His true supporters are in Washington’s lobbying industry. That irritates me if you hold sincere political beliefs.”
Matt Gaetz Contests McCarthy’s Status as a “Squatter” in the Speaker’s Office
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Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida is questioning whether it was legal for former House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to take up residence in the position of House speaker the day before he lost three separate elections to do so. Gaetz asked McCarthy on what “basis in law” he was allowed to occupy the otherwise vacant space in a letter he posted on Twitter Tuesday night and addressed to Brett Blanton, Architect of the Capitol.
“What is the basis in law, House rule, or precedent to allow someone who has placed second in three successive speaker elections to occupy the Speaker of the House Office?” read the letter. “How long will he remain there before he is considered a squatter?” Along with his fellow House members in the House Freedom Caucus, who charge McCarthy with not being a true conservative, Gaetz has been one of the most vocal opponents of McCarthy’s bid to become speaker even before Tuesday’s votes.
Gaetz declared his support for Jordan on the House floor in a video clip that was published by The Post Millennial on Tuesday afternoon. He said that “maybe the right person for the job of Speaker of the House isn’t someone who wants it so bad.”In the video, he continued, “Perhaps the right person for the job of speaker of the house isn’t someone who has sold shares of themselves for more than a decade to get it.