Thursday, January 5, 2023

Kevin McCarthy continues to lose the vote for US House Speaker

Kevin McCarthy fails for second day to win US House speaker vote


WASHINGTON: On Wednesday, Republicans in the House of Representatives failed to elect a leader for the second day in a row, despite former President Donald Trump's repeated pleas for them to unite behind his ally Kevin McCarthy.

McCarthy appeared no closer to securing the powerful House speaker position, which is second in line of succession to the presidency, after three failed votes and closed-door discussions.

At 12 p.m. (1700 GMT) on Thursday, lawmakers decided to return home for the evening and try again.

As they stumbled over what is typically a routine vote at the beginning of a legislative session, the impasse raised questions regarding the Republicans' ability to govern over the subsequent two years.

Before swearing in individual members and engaging in legislative business, members of the House must first name a leader.

McCarthy, a Californian, has been the top Republican in the House since 2019 and has successfully led his party's effort to take control of the chamber in the midterm elections in 2022.

However, he has now failed in six consecutive votes over the course of two days due to a group of 20 hardline conservatives who view him as ideologically unreliable and have refused to support him. This has left him short of the 218 votes required to win the position.

As the day progressed, McCarthy's supporters became increasingly enraged.

"You have 20 people insisting that 201 give in completely to them. At a news conference, Republican Representative Trent Kelly stated, "Well, I will not surrender unconditionally."

After the party managed to secure a slim majority in the November elections of 222-212, the leadership battle has provided the new Republican majority in the House with a disappointing start.

The party's potential difficulties ahead of the 2024 presidential election are made clear by the internal conflict.

In 1923, the House failed to select a speaker on the first ballot in a contest that required nine votes to decide.

McCarthy said that he was moving forward. After meeting with opponents, he told reporters, "I don't think voting tonight makes any difference, but I think voting in the future will."

His backers had hoped that casting votes over and over would wear opponents down. However, Republican confidence in McCarthy's success appeared to be waning as the day progressed without any sign of progress.

Representative Tom Cole predicted, "At some point, there will be a speaker, and it will be a Republican."

No. was one of the other possible names. 2 Representative Jim Jordan and House Republican Steve Scalise, both of whom received 20 votes when they were nominated on Tuesday. Both claimed to support McCarthy.

Candidate for compromise?

With Democratic support, it appeared that the possibility of the House electing a Republican speaker was growing.

Ro Khanna, a progressive Democrat, stated that he would support a moderate Republican who would agree to share the authority to issue subpoenas with Democrats and steer clear of brinkmanship regarding the debt ceiling and funding for the government. Brian Fitzpatrick, Mike Gallagher, and Dave Joyce, all Republicans in the House, were mentioned as possibilities.

Khanna told Reuters, "I'm open to it," and added that other Democrats might be on board as well. If it were the right Republican with the right commitments, there would be a significant number."

Republicans had not approached Democrats about that option, according to Hakeem Jeffries, the leader of the House Democrats.

By negotiating with holdouts, Republicans sought to determine whether McCarthy could win enough votes to become speaker. The group wants more influence over debt and spending as well as more control over leadership.

On Wednesday, 20 Republicans voted for Representative Byron Donalds, a Republican who will be elected for the first time in 2020, while McCarthy received only 201 of the 218 votes required. One Republican refused to support a particular candidate. Jeffries received the support of all 212 Democrats in the chamber.

The opposition claimed that the leadership battle could last for weeks.

One of the skeptics, Republican Representative Bob Good, stated, "It's worth taking a few days or a few weeks to get the best speaker possible."

Additionally, the vote was a rebuke to Trump, who urged fellow Republicans to put differences aside.

In advance of the day's votes, Trump wrote on his social media site Truth Social on Wednesday, "It's now time for all of our GREAT Republican House Members to VOTE FOR KEVIN."

Trump is still a well-known Republican figure, and he hasn't officially announced his candidacy for president in 2024. Trump has been attributed by some members of the party to the failure of Republicans to win more congressional seats in the midterm elections.

The party's ability to frustrate Democratic President Joe Biden's legislative agenda could be enhanced by Republican control of the House. Be that as it may, the deadlock brought up issues about whether the House will actually want to meet fundamental commitments like financing government activities, not to mention advance other approach needs.

Biden addressed reporters at the White House and stated, "This is not a good look" regarding the struggle among the House leadership. I hope they get their act together because this is the United States of America."

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