Update (1525ET): The 9th round of voting for House Speaker is now underway, topping the number of ballots it took in 1923 to re-elect Speaker Frederick Gillett (R-MA). He won by eventually caving to several demands to liberalize House legislative rules in order to win over fellow Republicans.
Prior to that, the House was deadlocked for two months in 1856, when it took 133 votes.
"We need to get to a point where we evaluate what life after Kevin McCarthy looks like," said Rep. Lauren Boebert to the 200 McCarthy supporters, before nominating Kevin Hern.
BOEBERT nominates Kevin Hern. She says she has been accused as having no plan, but they have "many many plans."— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) January 5, 2023
Hern got two votes last time. We'll see if Boebert sways anyone.
Boebert has voted for several candidates in these last few days.
Asked at what point will he make a realization that the outcome won’t change, McCarthy told me: “After I win.”— Manu Raju (@mkraju) January 5, 2023
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Update (1455ET): If Kevin McCarthy was a cat, he'd have one life left - after the eighth round of voting for House Speaker has once again left him with snake-eyes.
The results were virtually unchanged from the last round, with McCarthy garnering 201 votes, 20 Republicans voting for another candidate, and one voting "present."
As of now, lots of uncertainty about what’s next.— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) January 5, 2023
Could be 9th ballot
House rs would like to adjourn but don’t think they have the votes.
The leadership operation is trying to turn some votes on adjournment now.
Remember: they have to keep voting if they can’t adjourn
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told reporters on Wednesday that she wishes McCarthy had been voted in on the first ballot.
"I wish it had happened on the first vote, that Kevin would have been elected on the first vote and then we could have proceeded with putting committees together, an agenda and the rest," she said. "People should be seeing what the difference public policy makes in their lives instead of their being subjected to, what do they call insanity, doing the same thing over and over again with no change."
Come on Kevin, aren't eight votes enough?
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Update (1407ET): The House has begun voting for an eighth time, after McCarthy was soundly defeated once again.
After the Seventh vote for Speaker of the House, 21 Republicans are still Holding the Line and voting against Kevin McCarthy.— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) January 5, 2023
Since the first vote, those opposing McCarthy have only gained or maintained support.
In the last round of voting, 19 Republicans voted for Rep. Byron Donalds, one voted 'present,' and Matt Gaetz voted for former President Trump.
Rep. Chip Roy SMOKES McCarthy's dream of being Speaker like Texas Brisket on live TV pic.twitter.com/EGPDSfgvVz— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) January 5, 2023
Update (1250ET): To the surprise of no one, Kevin McCarthy doesn't have the votes to become Speaker of the House as the 7th round of voting comes to a close.
Hilariously, Rep. Matt Gaetz voted for Donald Trump for Speaker.
Representative-elect Gaetz votes for Donald John Trump for Speaker of the House. pic.twitter.com/zvAIH4tujZ— The Republican Accountability Project (@AccountableGOP) January 5, 2023
Interestingly, Trump could become Speaker - as the Constitution does not specify that the Speaker must actually be a member of the House. In a 2021 report, the Congressional Research Service noted that "Although the Constitution does not so require, the Speaker has always been a Member of the House.
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After two days of embarrassing defeat spanning six votes for Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy has offered his critics a mountain of new concessions before, during and after a round of Wednesday night negotiations, Politico reports.
The concessions include (via Politico):
- A one-member “motion to vacate”: The GOP leader appears to have finally acquiesced to a demand to lower the threshold needed to force a vote ousting a speaker to just one member. While McCarthy originally indicated that restoring the one-member “motion to vacate” was a red line, his allies now argue that there’s not a huge practical difference between this and his previous offer of requiring five members to trigger the vote.
- Rules Committee seats for the Freedom Caucus: McCarthy is prepared to give the House Freedom Caucus two seats on the powerful House Rules Committee, which oversees the amendment process for the floor. (Some conservatives are still holding out for four seats on the panel.) There are also talks about giving a third seat to a conservative close to the Freedom Caucus but not in it — someone like Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky. Who would pick those members is still under discussion. Typically, it’s the speaker’s prerogative, but conservatives want to choose their own members for these jobs.
- A vote on term limits: This is a key demand of Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.), who has proposed a constitutional amendment limiting lawmakers to three terms in the House.
- Major changes to the appropriations process: Fears of another trillion-plus-dollar omnibus spending bill have been a major driver of the conservative backlash to McCarthy. The brewing deal includes a promise for standalone votes on each of the 12 annual appropriations bills, which would be considered under what is known as an “open rule,” allowing floor amendments to be offered by any lawmaker.
That said, according to Punchbowl News' Jake Sherman (formerly of Politico), there are still 20 'no' votes against McCarthy, who "may have to sit through a 7th speaker vote today that he's sure to lose."
According to Sherman, "negotiations between McCarthy and opponents have turned slightly positive," while the Speaker hopeful is trying to drive a wedge between Reps. Lauren Bobert and Matt Gaetz. That said, some of McCarthy's allies have suggested the drama could extend into next week before McCarthy either gets the job or backs down.
More from Sherman / Punchbowl regarding McCarthy's progress:
TO BE SURE: MCCARTHY is a long way away. but he finally had a sliver of good news yesterday— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) January 5, 2023
Meanwhile, 'Never Kevin' Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC) has vowed to resign from Congress if McCarthy is elected Speaker, Fox News reports.
Years of anger, distrust
As Bloomberg notes, the 20 GOP holdouts that are blocking McCarthy's bid to become Speaker comes from years of anger at party leadership and "deep suspicions of the veteran lawmaker."
The group opposing McCarthy's ascension to the top spot in the chamber have a list of grievances about House rules, anger over uniparty compromises with Democrats, and doubt over McCarthy's claim to be a true conservative.
"Mr. McCarthy has a history that is off-putting to some people," said Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), one of the leaders of the revolt.
According to Rep. Scott Perry, chair of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, "It's not personal for us," adding "It’s about the policies that come out of here."
"I’m not for the restrictive nature of this place where eight people run it and the rest of us just vote yes or no," Perry added, expressing frustration with a series of omnibus spending packages that Republicans have joined Democrats in jamming through the process, year after year.
Meanwhile, McCarthy foe Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC) says there are 'trust' issues over McCarthy's past votes on spending packages.
"Could Kevin McCarthy all of a sudden morph into a fiscal conservative?" he asked.
Matt Gaetz of Florida, one of McCarthy’s most vocal detractors, has made his opposition more personal, lambasting him as a creature of the Washington “swamp” who does the bidding of corporate lobbies.
“If you want to Drain the Swamp, you CANNOT put the biggest alligator in charge of the exercise!” he said in a fundraising email sent amid the speaker votes. “We’re talking about someone who the corrupt DC special interests can always count on to be their lapdog.”
McCarthy has made efforts to neutralize right-wing critics. He pulled himself close to former President Donald Trump after first criticizing him for his actions when a mob of his supporters stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. -Bloomberg
Stay tuned for today's episode of 'nobody likes Kevin.'