Kevin McCarthy failed to run for Speaker of the House for the third day in a row

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WASHINGTON — For a long and frustrating third day, divided Republicans left the U.S. House speaker’s seat vacant as party leader Kevin McCarthy repeatedly fell short on several ballots to win enough GOP votes to take over the chamber. flatbread.

McCarthy lost the seventh, eighth, and then the historic ninth, 10th and 11th ballots in the long-running battle to pick the speaker in a contested election, surpassing the number of 100 years ago. As night fell, Republicans voted to adjourn and resume Friday, despite loud protests from Democrats.

With McCarthy’s supporters and foes deadlocked, the House failed to formally open a new session of Congress. Boredom, hopelessness, resentment became more and more obvious.

Read more: The problem is chaos: McCarthy supporters trolling democracy

Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, a critic of McCarthy, voted for Donald Trump, a symbolic but stark sign of the broader divide over the future of the Republican Party. He then made a day of protest absurd by officially appointing the former Speaker of the House on the 11th ballot. Trump got a laughable Gaetz vote.

As night falls on the second anniversary of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters in an attempt to derail Joe Biden’s election, Democrats say it’s time to get serious.

“This damn House of Representatives needs a leader,” said Colorado Democrat Joe Neguse, naming his party’s leader, Hakeem Jeffries, as speaker.

Read more: What to expect from a divided new Congress

McCarthy can be seen on the House floor speaking in animated conversations one after the other. His emissaries stormed the barricades, and tough negotiations broke out in the GOP whip’s office down the hall. McCarthy was determined to persuade Republicans to end the bitter debate that had marred his new GOP majority.

McCarthy’s management team offered a core group of Republican opponents a paper deal to change the rules in exchange for their support, said one of the opponents, conservative Republican Ralph Norman of South Carolina, who then said he was leaving the meeting later in the day. . Among other things, it planned to set a 72-hour deadline for bills to be tabled before a vote, though details were few.

Lest hope exceed reality, he added, “This is the first round.”

Opponents, led by the House Freedom Caucus, are seeking ways to curb the power of the president’s office and give key lawmakers more influence through seats on key committees and the ability to draft and process bills in an open process.

“We’ve had good discussions and I think everybody wants to find a solution,” McCarthy told reporters hours earlier.

Read more: How could McCarthy’s concessions to right-wing critics change the House?

The House, which represents half of Congress, is virtually at a standstill, unable to start a new session, swear in elected members or conduct official business.

However, despite endless negotiations, signs of concessions, and public displays unmatched in recent political memory, the way forward remains highly uncertain. What began as a political novelty, the first time since 1923 that a candidate failed to win on the primary ballot, has turned into a bitter Republican scandal and a potentially deepening crisis.

Jeffries of New York won the most votes on every ballot, but also fell short of a majority. McCarthy ran into second place but was unable to win.

McCarthy resisted mounting pressure to somehow find the votes he needed or to resign so the House could fully reopen and the government could continue.

The new Republican chairmen of the House Foreign Affairs, Armed Services and Intelligence committees have said national security is at risk.

“The Biden administration is unexamined and has no White House oversight,” Republicans Michael McCaul, Mike Rogers and Mike Turner wrote in a joint statement. “We cannot allow individual politics to threaten the safety and security of the United States.”

Read more: Gridlock House continues to shake hands with Biden and McConnell

But McCarthy’s right-wing critics, led by the Freedom Caucus and allied with Trump, have publicly supported former President McCarthy, but the backlash has been fueled.

Scott Perry, R-Pa., leader of the Freedom Caucus and the leader of Trump’s 2020 presidential bid. McCarthy declared that he could not be trusted and expressed his displeasure at the ongoing negotiations for rule changes and other concessions. released.

“It’s even harder to believe when trust is betrayed and leaked,” he tweeted.

Republican opponents repeatedly raised the name of Rep. Byron Donalds of Florida, arguing that the impasse would continue with racial and political undercurrents. They also split the protest vote by nominating Republican Kevin Hearn of Oklahoma.

Donalds, who is black, is seen as an up-and-coming party leader and the first black leader of a major political party in the U.S. Congress, and is seen as a GOP challenger to incumbent Democratic leader Jeffries. will be a speaker one day.

Read more: Hakeem Jeffries and the perils of being “First.”

Another black Republican, incumbent John James, nominated McCarthy on the seventh ballot as the candidates became a rising GOP star. On the 10th, it was Juan Siscomani, an immigrant from Mexico who was just elected from Arizona, whose speech was “USA!” He chanted. USA!”

A new generation of conservative Republicans, many of whom align with Trump’s “Make America Great Again” agenda, want to disrupt business as usual in Washington and have vowed to end McCarthy’s rise without compromising their priorities.

In order to gain support, McCarthy agreed to many of his opponents’ demands.

One of the main demands of the holdouts is to restore a rule that allows a single lawmaker to ask for a motion of impeachment — essentially a House vote to remove the president. It’s a provision that GOP Chairman John Boehner threatened to unseat during the previous tea party Republican era, and McCarthy has opposed reinstating it.

But not everyone who opposes McCarthy is complaining, and he may never be able to convince some of them. Several Republicans seem unlikely to ever vote for McCarthy.

Ballots continued to yield similar results, with 20 conservative groups still rejecting McCarthy, leaving him well short of the 218 votes he would normally need to win the gavel.

In fact, McCarthy saw his support drop to 201 as another Republican moved to vote, then to 200 again. With only 222 seats in the GOP, he spared no votes.

Read more: Why is Kevin McCarthy so bad at this?

Thursday was the third long day. The protracted and divisive spat between speakers ahead of the Jan. 6 anniversary highlights the fragility of American democracy since the coup attempt two years ago.

Colorado Republican Ken Buck missed several votes Wednesday after telling McCarthy that he “needs to find a way to move the deal forward” or resign for someone else.

The disorganized start to the new Congress has highlighted the challenges Republicans now have in controlling the House, as former Republican speakers, including John Boehner, have struggled to manage a rebellious right wing. The result: a government shutdown, controversy, and Boehner’s early retirement.

The longest battle began in late 1855 and lasted two months with 133 ballots during the slavery debate as the Civil War approached.

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