wHat was expected to be Victory Day’s Republican House The majority descended into chaos on Tuesday as fighting between parties over who should lead them in their new era ended without a speaker at the podium.
Republicans have failed to elect a speaker yet Kevin McCarthy He was unable to overcome opposition from the right wing of his party after an hours-long streak of votes on the first day of the new Congress.
Opposition by 20 lawmakers, including some of the chamber’s more conservative members, to McCarthy’s speaking impeded the ability of the House to begin its work and delayed the ceremonial swearing-in of hundreds of returning and incoming members.
GOP lawmakers on Wednesday will again try to elect Speaker of the House despite uncertainty over how McCarthy will rebound after he became the first House speaker candidate in 100 years to fail to win the sledgehammer with his party in the majority.
What to know when the House of Representatives heads to the second day of electing the speaker:
Why is there no speaker?
Needing 218 votes in the entire House, McCarthy polled just 203 in the first two rounds of voting on the first day—less even than Democrat Hakeem Jeffries in the GOP-controlled chamber—and fared worse with 202 in the third round.
A growing number of critics have warned for months that the California Republican did not have the votes to win the position mandated by the Constitution, making him second in line for the presidency. In response, McCarthy negotiated endlessly with members, including Representatives Andy Biggs, Scott Perry, and Matt Gaetz, to win their support.
Negotiations dragged on until Monday night when members of the ultra-conservative Freedom Caucus made their final offer to McCarthy, which included demands for specific commission assignments in exchange for their vote.
McCarthy rejected coercion, saying he had gone far enough to satisfy lawmakers.
“For the last two months, we’ve worked together in a full conference to develop rules that empower all members, but we don’t empower certain members at the expense of others,” McCarthy told reporters early Tuesday.
As a result, these members and more than a dozen others openly opposed him on the ground.
What does that mean for the room?
Without a Speaker, the House of Representatives cannot be fully formed as that person effectively serves as the President of the Chamber and the administrative head of the institution.
Taking oaths, naming committee chairmen, engaging in floor proceedings, and initiating oversight investigations will be delayed until a chairperson is elected and sworn in.
said Rep. Don Bacon, R-N.B. “It’s on them.”
How will it be resolved?
It remains unclear if and when McCarthy crosses the threshold to become the next Speaker of the House. The current number of Republicans who have pledged support for other candidates is 20, and some suspect the list will grow.
The House of Representatives is scheduled to begin another round of voting on the speaker at noon on Wednesday. Once the House of Representatives has attained a quorum—that is, the minimum number of members present to proceed—each party’s speaker nominee will be read aloud by the respective leaders before a roll-call vote to elect a new president.
On Tuesday, Republicans opposed to McCarthy nominated a host of other candidates, including Biggs, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio and even former Rep. Lee Zeldin of New York.
“I rise to nominate the most talented and hard-working member of the Republican convention, who just delivered a speech with more vision than we’ve ever heard from the alternative,” Gates said Tuesday while nominating Jordan.
Granted, none of them reached a majority of votes, but that was enough to dent the support of McCarthy, who in a 222-213 majority can lose no more than a handful of votes.
A candidate to become president needs a majority vote of the members of the House of Representatives present and voting. Each legislator who votes “present” reduces the total number needed to reach a majority.
If McCarthy comes up short again on Wednesday, the employee will re-vote the roll call until he can either get a majority or agree to a motion to adjourn.
Has this ever happened before?
The last time the House of Representatives did not elect a speaker on the first ballot was in 1923 when the election spanned nine ballots.
At the time, the Republicans had won a majority despite losing a staggering 77 seats, narrowing their margin over the Democrats from 171 to 18. The majority party had named incumbent Rep. Frederick Gillett, R-M., to the position, but many seats other. The candidates, including the Democrat, tallied votes during the roll call.
This resulted in a series of polls over three days before House Majority Leader Nicholas Longworth, R-Ohio, held an emergency meeting with the opponents. Their concern, similar to that issued against McCarthy, was about a series of rule changes that they believed merited a fair trial. Longworth obliged, and the next day Gillett received the 215 votes he needed to remain Speaker.