House speaker election goes to second day as Kevin McCarthy seeks deal


WASHINGTON — The U.S. House of Representatives entered its second day without an elected speaker Wednesday, after Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., failed in three consecutive votes Tuesday to secure the 218 votes needed to win the coveted post.

But after negotiations with fellow Republicans that lasted deep into the night on Tuesday, McCarthy appeared no closer Wednesday to winning over the 20 members of his caucus who had refused to support him the day before.

The failed votes marked the first time in 100 years that the majority party in the House has not elected a speaker on its first vote. The staunch opposition to McCarthy from a core group of Republicans grew larger over the course of the day, throwing the party into chaos.

The House was scheduled to convene at 12 p.m. Wednesday, and members of both parties were advised that there would likely be a fourth vote on the speaker.

But this course of events was still up in the air late in the morning. If Republican and Democratic leaders were to decide that there was no value in holding a vote Wednesday, the House could also adjourn for the day, giving McCarthy and his lieutenants another 24 hours to negotiate with far-right holdouts in the party.

Little appeared to have changed, publicly or privately, between Tuesday and Wednesday, however. Both McCarthy’s allies and his opponents delivered effectively the same message in interviews Wednesday that they have been for weeks: We’re not going to budge.

One exception to the stalemate was a fresh endorsement for McCarthy from former President Donald Trump, who on Tuesday afternoon had initially sounded an uncertain note about the political future of one of his most loyal allies in Congress.

“REPUBLICANS, DO NOT TURN A GREAT TRIUMPH INTO A GIANT & EMBARRASSING DEFEAT,” Trump posted on his Truth Social website Wednesday morning. “IT’S TIME TO CELEBRATE, YOU DESERVE IT. Kevin McCarthy will do a good job, and maybe even a GREAT JOB – JUST WATCH!”

Despite Trump’s broad support among conservative Republican voters, it was not clear his new endorsement would move the needle for any of the holdouts in Congress. While the group of 20 far-right Republicans are all close Trump allies, the former president’s name and his “America First” message have been notably absent from the intraparty GOP debate raging behind closed doors.

McCarthy himself was tight lipped Tuesday and into Wednesday, and he declined to give interviews or take his message to the airwaves or social media.

When asked Wednesday morning what his plan would be, NBC news reported that McCarthy told reporters at the Capitol, “Same game plan as yesterday.”

When a journalist asked how he would get more votes, McCarthy replied: “We’re sitting, we’re talking … I think we can get to 218.”

Instead, he authorized a handful of allies to negotiate with the holdouts, many of whom identify with the Freedom Caucus, a loosely organized 40+ member caucus led by Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Scott Perry, who is among the most outspoken opponents of McCarthy’s speaker bid.

This is a developing story, please check back for updates.


Source link