Kevin McCarthy fails to secure a majority in the now Republican-controlled chamber as he faces opposition from far-right legislators.
For the first time in nearly a century, the United States House of Representatives failed to elect a speaker as a Republican in the first round of voting. Kevin McCarthy failed to secure a majority in the chamber to succeed Nancy Pelosi.
Republicans narrowly won control of the chamber in November midterm electionsbut several right-wing lawmakers from McCarthy’s own party declined to support him during the first session of the new House on Tuesday.
The speaker must obtain a majority of the vote, excluding absent legislators and those voting “present”. On Tuesday, McCarthy needed 218 votes, but only got 202, with 19 Republicans voting against him — mainly for Reps. Andy Biggs and Jim Jordan.
For the vote, far-right congressman Paul Gosar had nominated Biggs as the nominee, but Jordan did not seek the speakership and he himself voted for McCarthy.
The Democratic nominee, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, received 211 votes, a higher number than McCarthy, but realistically he was never in the running for the speakership with his party outnumbered.
McCarthy, a Republican from California, has been minority leader since the Democrats won the majority in 2019.
The chamber, which will effectively remain non-functional until a new speaker is elected, will now hold subsequent rounds of voting.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives is second in line to the U.S. presidency and the most powerful legislator in the country with decisive influence over which bills and amendments are considered.
The House and Senate form Congress, which passes federal legislation, allocates government spending, and provides oversight.
More to follow…