After House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) suffered defeat a total of six separate times over the course of two days in his efforts to become speaker.
The House issued a very close vote on Wednesday evening to drop back into session at noon in Washington, D.C., giving members-elect a bit more time to negotiate for a candidate who can secure the required majority to control the gavel. As of press time, McCarthy still had not struck a deal to get past the inane deadlock being put in place by a holdout group of 20 Republican senators, but also refuses to back down as well.
“I don’t think a vote tonight will make a difference,” stated McCarthy to the gathered press on Wednesday night, “but a vote in the future will.”
The voting will continue for however long it takes to secure someone into the role of speaker. Members of the House cannot be officially sworn into their roles until the votes finalize and the speaker takes his position, which has been putting a halt on all legislative business and committee assignments for the 118th Congress. The threshold for any nominee to take up the speaker’s gavel sits at 218 votes, but the number drops if members vote “present,” are absent, or decline to issue a vote.
Over the past two days worth of voting, Democrats voted as a bloc to stand with Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) with 212 votes, while McCarthy only earned as many as 203 votes despite Republicans holding the majority.
Due to the insanity of the event, McCarthy’s total votes have started to drop slightly — down to 201 — as additional votes were carried out. A group of twenty Republican holdouts has chosen to back Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) who is currently starting his second term as a Congressman. Donalds stopped issuing his vote for McCarthy after 2 rounds of voting and Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-IN) voted for McCarthy on Tuesday, but swapped to voting as “present” Wednesday morning.
“We have a constitutional duty to elect the Speaker of the House, but we have to deliberate further as a Republican conference until we have enough votes and stop wasting everyone’s time,” expressed Spartz in a comment issued Wednesday. “None of the Republican candidates have this number yet. That’s why I voted present after all votes were cast.”
Recently, Former President Donald Trump attempted to give a significant boost to McCarthy prior to the voting starting up Wednesday. “It’s now time for all of our GREAT Republican House Members to VOTE FOR KEVIN, CLOSE THE DEAL, TAKE THE VICTORY,” exclaimed Trump in a post to his social media site, Truth Social.