Republicans had a rocky start to the 118th Congress when House Speaker hopeful Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) failed to secure the votes needed to obtain the gavel.
What should have been a celebration of their newly attained House majority devolved into chaos after McCarthy failed to get the gavel despite three consecutive votes.
In a showdown on the House floor, McCarthy and his allies fought against a small but persistent group of dissenting conservatives who refused to vote for McCarthy.
The commotion amused Democrats, who watched on as Republicans sniped internally.
The folderol subsided when on the third attempt, Republicans adjourned the Speaker vote to Wednesday (January 4) after McCarthy still didn’t have the 218 votes needed to secure the Speaker’s gavel.
Although Republicans underperformed in November’s midterms, the GOP viewed the lower chamber flip as an opportunity to make good on their campaign promises, including passing legislation that addresses the economic volatility and a string of investigations into the Biden administration.
But all that will have to be put on pause as the House remains in limbo — unable to swear in members or finalize Committees — without a Speaker to replace former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA.).
Besides being the first time in history the House had multiple votes for Speaker, Tuesday’s showdown was also remarkable because of the number of GOP lawmakers opposing McCarthy, which shocked even his detractors.
In the first two votes, 19 Republicans opposed McCarthy for Speaker; by the third vote, that increased by one vote to 20.