‘The fever’s got to break’: When will there be a House speaker?

It remains unclear when there will be a new speaker of the House elected, as Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy scrambles to garner support for his flailing bid for the speakership.

Mr McCarthy and his allies remain unsure if they have the votes to support the motion to adjourn, according to CNN.

The GOP leader lost three votes to become speaker on Tuesday, coming short of the 218 votes he needs for a majority in the chamber.

Mr McCarthy didn’t have the votes on Wednesday either, with a consensus building among some that he may never do so. As of Wednesday evening, Mr McCarthy has lost a total of six rounds of votes.

The number of votes needed to clinch the gavel may change if some members-elect vote “present” or choose not to appear for votes, meaning that the threshold for a majority is lower, something which appears unlikely to happen.

In the initial two rounds of voting on Tuesday, 19 Republicans voted against Mr McCarthy, with 20 Republicans voting against him in the third round. With 222 Republicans elected to the House in the 2022 midterms, Mr McCarthy can only afford to lose four votes as Democrats appear unwilling to help him across the finish line.

It’s the first time in a century that the election of a House speaker has gone into multiple ballots.

As the Republicans returned to Capitol on Wednesday, several more rounds of voting took place.

“It may not happen on the day we want it, but it’s going to happen,” Mr McCarthy told reporters on Tuesday evening, according to Politico. “I wouldn’t say it’s a battle. It’s not that far away … we’ll get there.”

While allies of the GOP leader have been trying to negotiate with the dissenters, dubbed by some in the Republican Party on Tuesday as the “Taliban 19”, there weren’t any signs of optimism that the gridlock would lift.

Pennsylvania Republican Brian Fitzpatrick, an ally of Mr McCarthy who’s speaking to the rightwing members opposing the leader, said, “I don’t think anyone should be assuming something drastic happens quickly. We have to be patient”.

“The fever’s got to break here. The very thing that’s got to happen is the temperature has got to come down,” he added, according to Politico.

“Personally I think we should have an agreement before we go to the floor, but that’s not my decision,” he said.

Republican members-elect from all parts of the House conference agree on one thing – there’s no plan and it remains unclear what happens next, the outlet noted. It doesn’t appear possible for Mr McCarthy to gain the support he needs to become speaker on Wednesday.

Late on Tuesday night, Mr McCarthy suggested that he may attempt to get some of his members to vote “present” instead of for another candidate, lowering the threshold for him to become speaker.

“You just have to get more votes than 212, where the Democrats are. Ideally, it’d be nice to get 222,” he said in reference to the total number of Republicans in the chamber.

The 212 Democrats elected have remained unified behind their new leader – Brooklyn, New York Representative-elect Hakeem Jeffries.

But some of the Republicans blocking Mr McCarthy’s path to the speakership, rejected the idea of voting “present”.

Florida Representative-elect Matt Gaetz said the notion was “absurd” and Chip Roy of Texas said, “I just don’t see it”.

“If he’s literally trying to patchwork votes together, to scrap together the votes by trying to carve out present votes and hope some people don’t show up or something — I just don’t see that as a path to a strong leadership position,” Mr Roy added, according to Politico.

“We’re basically at an impasse. So what are we going to do, have the same vote numbers for 10 ballots? That’s ridiculous and that makes no sense,” Byron Donalds, a Florida Republican, said. “He’s got to prove he can get there. At the end of the day, you have to close the deal. … We do not reward not being able to close deals.”

On the third ballot, Mr Donalds was the only member to switch his vote away from Mr McCarthy, supporting Jim Jordan of Ohio despite Mr Jordan urging his colleagues to support Mr McCarthy.