WASHINGTON — House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California) has made several concessions aimed at winning over the far-right opposition that has hitherto blocked his path to the gavel. It lost the House Speaker’s eighth vote on Thursday.
The final tally for the eighth ballot is largely unchanged from the previous ballot. Democratic Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries got the most votes from the unanimous Democratic Caucus with 212 votes.
McCarthy received 201 votes, just like the first ballot of the day. Republican Rep. Byron Donalds (Florida) was McCarthy’s nominee and received 17 votes.
This was a smaller vote than last year, as Florida Rep. Matt Gates cast one vote for former President Donald Trump, plus two new votes for Republican Rep. Kevin Hahn of Oklahoma. rice field. Anyone. Indiana Republican Rep. Victoria Spartz again voted for “Present.”
Under House rules, lawmakers can technically nominate and elect anyone as speaker, not just those currently serving in the House.
Members were informed that there was likely to be a ninth ballot, but there was little sign that McCarthy’s fortunes would improve to secure the 218 votes needed to secure the gavel.
Earlier in the day, McCarthy was making optimistic notes about meetings between his executives and the bloc of Republican holdouts.
“I think everyone in the conversation wants to find a solution,” McCarthy said on his way to the House for the first ballot of the day.
But less than two hours after the vote began, Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, an influential McCarthy holdout, posted an angry tweet accusing McCarthy of leaking details of internal negotiations. bottom.
It is unclear whether Republicans will try to adjourn the House after the eighth vote or be forced to vote for the ninth, but there are no clear signs that someone in the GOP caucuses has changed their minds. I didn’t.
The continued absence of a speaker has left the House in turmoil, largely because lay members cannot hold office until a speaker is elected and cannot establish offices locally or in Washington. It’s for This leaves all of his 434 members of the House technically still elected legislators and not official voting representatives.
Ahead of Thursday’s vote, Democratic leaders blamed Republicans for the dysfunction of the Republican Party and highlighted the harm that days without the Speaker of the House are doing to the legislature and the country.
“We can’t help organize local offices and get new members to do the political work of voter service and serve the people who sent us here on their behalf,” said incoming Democrat Catherine Clarke. , D- Massachusetts State Legislature told reporters at the Capitol Thursday morning. “Kevin McCarthy’s selfish pursuit of the Presidency at all costs drowns out the voices and needs of the American people.”
Democrats also say that the absence of members of the House of Representatives threatens U.S. national security because it prevents members of the House from accessing classified information available only after members take the oath of office. emphasized.
“At the end of the day, all we ask of Republicans is to come up with a way for themselves to organize themselves so that Congress can come together and do business for the American people.” said at a press conference.
She accused McCarthy of being “held hostage to his own ambitions”.
“This is about your responsibility to organize the government. It’s our foundation as members of Congress,” Clark said.
McCarthy, meanwhile, negotiated late Wednesday night with both allies and opponents to try and get a deal to get the gavel after six unsuccessful votes on Tuesday and Wednesday.
House Republican Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) reacts with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) on the floor of the House. The race for Speaker of the House continues on January 4, 2023, during his second day of the 118th Congress at the Washington State Capitol, USA.
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters
The first major concession McCarthy agreed Wednesday was a rule change that would allow any member of the party to request a vote on whether to replace the Speaker of the House at any time, according to NBC News. was also a much lower threshold.
“Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime,” is how Gates, one of McCarthy’s most staunch opponents, explained the new rule to NBC late Wednesday night.
Gates also said McCarthy agreed to nominate members of the far-right House Liberal caucuses to key committee positions. .
This change fulfilled another request from the Far Right. Its members’ bloc will be given more power to push their preferred bills into the House floor.
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Florida) voted in the middle of the House after failing to elect House GOP Chief of Staff Kevin McCarthy (R-California) as the new House Speaker on the fourth ballot. Enthusiastically addresses other conservative Republicans. The House of Representatives during his second day of the 118th Congress at the Washington State Capitol, USA, January 4, 2023.
Evelyn Hochstein | Reuters
McCarthy’s allies did not deny that McCarthy agreed to the new concessions, NBC reported, but declined to confirm details.
“The issue is movement and positive movement,” Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-North Carolina) told NBC News and other reporters camped outside the conference room late Wednesday night. We’ve had a very positive afternoon of discussion, and goodwill seems to be forming around Republicans and McCarthy in very good shape.”
After McCarthy failed seven votes in two days, limited progress was made to reach the minimum number needed to become Speaker, in this case 218 votes, if all 434 members of the House voted. bottom.
Not only did McCarthy fail to reach 218, but in the space of 48 hours, McCarthy’s backing actually shrunk from 203 to 201 after Donalds and Spartz dropped backing.
Democrats, on the other hand, lined up on every ballot, casting all 212 votes unanimously for Jeffries.
Incoming Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-New York), Incoming Democratic Whip Catherine Clarke (D-Mass), Incoming Democratic Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar (D-California) December 13, 2022 A press conference will be held at Capitol Hill, Washington, USA.
Elizabeth Franz | Reuters
This is a developing story and will be updated throughout the day.