McCarthy will try for speaker again after 6 failed votes

McCarthy is under increasing pressure from restless Republicans to either find the votes he needs or step aside so the House can get to work.

WASHINGTON – House Republicans are at a crossroads as leader Kevin McCarthy has repeatedly failed to become speaker of the House of Representatives, but he remains determined to convince enough voters right-wing supporters vote for themselves and end the deadlock.

What began as a political novelty where, for the first time in 100 years, a nominated candidate failed to win the first vote, turned into a bitter Republican feud. and a potentially deepening crisis.

McCarthy is under growing pressure from relentless Republicans and Democrats to either find the votes he needs or step aside so the House can fully reopen and resume business. His right wing detractors seem intent on waiting for him out, as long as it’s necessary.

“There’s no deal yet,” McCarthy said late Wednesday before the House abruptly adjourned. “But a lot of progress.”

The House of Representatives, which makes up half of Congress, was essentially deadlocked as McCarthy failed, vote after vote, to win the speaker’s support in a grueling spectacle for the world. eyewitnesses. Votes have produced almost the same results, 20 conservative supporters still refuse to support him and leave him far behind the 218 normally needed to win the election.

In fact, McCarthy has seen his support drop to 201, as a Republican member turned to vote simply being present.

“I think people need to work a little bit more,” McCarthy said Wednesday as they prepared to postpone the evening. “I don’t think a vote tonight will make any difference. But a future vote is possible.”

When the House of Representatives reopens at noon on Thursday, it could be a long day. The new Republican majority is not expected to be in session on Friday, the anniversary of the attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021. One speaker’s battle dragged on and divisive will almost certainly underline the fragility of American democracy following the uprising two years ago.

“All those who serve in the House have a responsibility to bring dignity to this agency,” Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat and former speaker, said in a tweet.

Pelosi also said that “the cavalier attitude of the Republican Party in electing the President is frivolous, disrespectful and unworthy of this institution. We have to open the House of Commons and do the People’s business.”

Some Republicans seem increasingly upset with the way House Republicans took power after the midterm elections only to see the House tilt in the speaker race in recent weeks. the first day they made up the new majority.

Colorado Republican Ken Buck said he discourages McCarthy from stepping aside. “I told him he needed to figure out how to make a deal to move forward,” he said.

McCarthy has vowed to fight to the death for the position of speaker in a battle that has thrown the new majority into turmoil in the first days of the new Congress.

Right-wing conservatives, led by the Freedom Caucus and affiliated with former President Donald Trump, appear to be emboldened by the stalemate – even though Trump has publicly endorsed McCarthy,

“This is truly an invigorating day for America,” said Florida Republican Byron Donalds, who has been nominated three times by his conservative colleagues as a replacement. “There are a lot of members in the room that want to have serious conversations about how we can end all of this and elect a speaker.”

The messy start of the new Congress points to the difficulties ahead with Republicans now controlling the House, in the same way that some previous Republican speakers, including John Boehner , had trouble leading the rebellious right-wing faction. The result: government shutdown, deadlock, and Boehner’s early retirement.

A new generation of conservative Republicans, many of whom are aligned with Trump’s make America great again agenda, want to promote business-as-usual in Washington and are committed to stemming the rise of Trump. McCarthy without giving in to their priorities.

But even Trump’s strongest supporters disagree on the issue. Colorado Republican Lauren Boebert, who nominated the Donalds a second time, urged the former president to tell McCarthy, “Sir, you don’t have the vote and it’s time to back out.”

By McCarthy’s own calculations, he needs to oust about a dozen Republicans who have so far rejected their support as he pushes for the job he’s long wanted.

To win support, McCarthy agreed to numerous requests by Freedom Caucus members, who instigated rule changes and other concessions that gave ordinary members more influence.

And a campaign group affiliated with McCarthy, the Conservative Leadership Foundation, made another concession, saying it would no longer spend money on elections “at any primaries in the districts.” Republican safe-haven”. because the House was treated unfairly when the campaign fund diverted its resources elsewhere.

Scott Perry, Republican of Pennsylvania, chairman of the Freedom Caucus, said the latest round of talks was “productive”.

Chip Roy, another member of the conservative group, said: “I am open to anything that will give me the strength to defend my constituents against this abandoned city.

But McCarthy’s opponents don’t all have the same complaints, and he may never win over some of them.

“I’m willing to vote all night, all week, all month and never for that person,” said Florida Republican Matt Gaetz.

Such acrimonious outcry echoes McCarthy’s previous bid for the job, when he dropped out of the speaker race in 2015 because he couldn’t win over conservatives.

“We have no exit strategy,” said Ralph Norman of the South Carolina Republican Party.

“There’s nothing he can give me or any of our members that’s going to be a miracle pill,” Norman said.

Not since 1923 has the speaker election been played out in more than one way. The longest fight for the hammer began in late 1855 and lasted for two months, with 133 votes, in the pre-Civil War slavery debates.

Democrats enthusiastically nominated and abandoned their House leader, Hakeem Jeffries, on all six ballots for speaker positions in the first two days. He consistently won the most votes, 212.

If McCarthy can win 213 votes, and then convince the remaining opponents to simply vote present, he should be able to lower the regulatory requirement threshold for a majority.

That’s the strategy previous House speakers, including Pelosi and Boehner, used as they took on the opposition, winning by less than 218 votes.

One Republican, Victoria Spartaz of Indiana, voted yes in Wednesday’s voting rounds, but that ultimately only reduced McCarthy’s total vote.

AP writers Mary Clare Jalonick and Kevin Freking contributed to this report. McCarthy will try for speaker again after 6 failed votes

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