On Capitol Hill, far-right lawmakers have blocked Kevin McCarthy’s initial attempts to become speaker of the House. In a dramatic day on Tuesday, the House held three votes to pick a new speaker, and McCarthy fell short each time of securing the needed 218 votes, even though Republicans now hold a slim majority in the House. On the first two ballots, 19 Republicans opposed McCarthy. On the third ballot, the number of defectors increased to 20, with many backing Jim Jordan to be the next speaker, even though Jordan himself nominated McCarthy before the second round of voting. This marks the first time since 1923 — a hundred years ago — that voting for speaker went beyond the first round. After the third vote, the House voted to adjourn until today at noon.
Cheryl Johnson: “No person having received the majority of the whole number of votes cast by surname, a speaker has not been elected. For what purpose does the gentleman from Oklahoma rise?”
Rep. Tom Cole: “Move to adjourn until noon tomorrow.”
Cheryl Johnson: “The question is on the motion. All those in favor, say 'aye.'”
Cheryl Johnson: “All those opposed, 'no.'”
Cheryl Johnson: “The ayes have it. The motion is adopted. The House stands adjourned until noon tomorrow.”
Democratic House leader Hakeem Jeffries also made history Tuesday by becoming the first Black lawmaker to be nominated to be House speaker. Jeffries received 212 votes during each round of voting–more than McCarthy.
It is unclear how long it could take for the House to pick a speaker, but until one is chosen, the House cannot conduct other business, including the swearing-in of new House members. We will have more on the chaos in the House after headlines.