House Adjourns after McCarthy Loses Three Speaker Votes

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The House voted to adjourn on Tuesday evening until noon on Wednesday after three failed attempts at electing a speaker.

The decision to adjourn came shortly after House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy failed to win the speakership in a third vote on Tuesday. A handful of Republican holdouts coalesced around Representative Jim Jordan (R., Ohio) instead.

Representative Chip Roy (R., Texas) nominated Jordan on the third ballot, despite Jordan having nominated McCarthy before the second round of voting.

“We need to rally around him,” Jordan said of McCarthy before the second ballot.

The vote headed to a second ballot for the first time since 1923 after 19 Republicans voted against McCarthy in the first round. He could only afford to lose the votes of four House Republicans in order to hit the 218 vote threshold needed to win.

Defectors voted for Representatives Andy Biggs (R., Ariz.), Jim Jordan (R., Ohio), Byron Donalds (R., Fla.) and former Representative Lee Zeldin on the first ballot.

The group of 19 lawmakers all voted for Jordan in the second round. Donalds, who voted for McCarthy in the first two rounds, also chose to vote for Jordan in the third round.

“The reality is Rep. Kevin McCarthy doesn’t have the votes,” Donalds said in a tweet explaining his decision to switch. “I committed my support to him publicly and for two votes on the House Floor. 218 is the number, and currently, no one is there. Our conference needs to recess and huddle and find someone or work out the next steps but these continuous votes aren’t working for anyone.”

Representative Ken Buck (R., Colo.), who has supported McCarthy in the first three rounds of voting, said he believes the GOP leader will only continue to lose support with additional rounds of voting.

Asked if he would move away from voting for McCarthy, Buck reportedly told reporters: “I think eventually you have to. The only thing that could change is Democrats walking away and not voting and then the denominator changes ….. Otherwise Republicans are gonna have to start moving around.”

Ahead of the vote on Tuesday, McCarthy signaled he was done negotiating with his detractors in an effort to win the speakership during a tense closed-door meeting, according to a new report.

Several House Republicans doubled down on their promises to oppose McCarthy’s bid after the meeting, which was held ahead of what is expected to be a lengthy vote for the speakership. The California Republican will need 218 votes if every current member votes for a candidate by name — a difficult task with the party’s razor-thin majority in the House.

Despite the ongoing battle with his detractors, McCarthy received a standing ovation from most of the attendees at the closed-door meeting, per CNN. McCarthy “raised his voice in the meeting as he animatedly teed off on his opponents, detailed all the concessions he has made and said that it hasn’t been good enough,” the report said.

One source told the outlet that McCarthy took his opponents “to the woodshed like I’ve never seen.”

“I’ve earned this job,” McCarthy reportedly said.

McCarthy got into several spats with those who plan to oppose his bid, including Representative Chip Roy (R., Texas) and Representative Scott Perry (R., Pa.), who accused McCarthy of not having a track record on spending bills.

Representative Bob Good (R., Va.) said “nothing has changed” and that he is still a “NO” on McCarthy no matter what, according to CNN.

“I don’t think he won anybody over that he didn’t have already,” he said, adding that lawmakers who are opposing McCarthy feel even more strongly that their “cause is just.”

Representative Andy Biggs (R., Ariz.) said he still plans to run against McCarthy and will not drop out, according to the report. Representative Matt Rosendale (R., Mont.) accused McCarthy of lying during his remarks in the closed-door meeting and said the gathering further inflamed tensions.

The arguments come after McCarthy offered several concessions on Sunday in an effort to persuade his critics.

“Just as the Speaker is elected by the whole body, we will restore the ability for any 5 members of the majority party to initiate a vote to remove the Speaker if so warranted,” McCarthy wrote in a letter addressed to House Republicans.

He also offered to tighten up House proxy-voting procedures. 

“Congress was never intended for Zoom, and no longer will members be able to phone it in while attending lavish international weddings or sailing on their boat. We will meet, gather and debate in person — just as the founders envisioned,” McCarthy said.

However, a group of nine conservative Republicans wrote a letter over the weekend saying McCarthy has not done enough to win their support. Roy and Perry signed the letter, as did Representatives Paul Gosar of Arizona, Dan Bishop of North Carolina, Andrew Clyde of Georgia, Andy Harris of Maryland and three representative-elects.

McCarthy pushed back against the demands of his detractors while talking to reporters on Tuesday.

“For the last two months we worked together as a whole conference to develop rules that empower all members but we’re not empowering certain members over others,” he said. “Last night I was presented the only way to have 218 votes: if I provided certain members with certain positions, certain gavels to take over committees, to have certain budgets and they even came to the position where one Matt Gaetz said, ‘I don’t care if we go to plurality and we elect Hakeem Jeffries and it hurts the new frontline members not to get reelected.'”

“Well that’s not about America and I will always fight to put the American people first, not a few individuals that want something for themselves,” McCarthy said. “So we may have a battle on the floor but the battle is for the conference and the country.”

When McCarthy said during the closed-door meeting that opponents came to him with “personal asks” on Monday evening, Representative Lauren Boebert (R., Colo.) reportedly yelled “bullsh*t.”

Boebert accused McCarthy of “taking the path of Nancy Pelosi” while speaking to reporters on Tuesday, saying her hardline was the single-member motion to vacate.

“You cannot demand more responsibility and less accountability and Kevin McCarthy was taking the path of Nancy Pelosi and following her precedents with the motion to vacate,” she said, adding that she and other lawmakers who had taken a similar position on the issue were told “just today” that the single member motion to vacate was on the table.

The tensions are setting up a possibly lengthy vote for speaker. No other House business can be done until a speaker is selected.

If no candidate wins a majority, the House will be left to continue to hold votes until a candidate secures enough support — a scenario that has only played out 14 times in the chamber’s history, according to NBC News, with 13 of those instances having happened before the Civil War.

A close ally of McCarthy told Punchbowl News he believes McCarthy has only a 5 percent chance of winning the speakership.

If lawmakers are absent or vote “present,” the threshold McCarthy needs to win the speakership would be lowered. However, Representative Hakeem Jeffries, the incoming House Minority Leader, said he does not expect either scenario to play out among House Democrats. 

“It’s unfortunate that all we’re seeing is chaos, crisis, confusion and craziness take hold of the other side of the aisle, as opposed to trying to find common ground to deliver real results for the American people,” Jeffries said. “Hopefully, we’ll get to a place sooner rather than later, when the Congress can actually function in a way that brings Democrats and Republicans together to get things done for the American people.”

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