Democrats refused to throw Kevin McCarthy a lifeline as the Republican loses the tenth vote for speaker and headed into a blender for the eleventh time.
Rep. Ken Buck missed the ninth ballot after traveling back to his state for a “planned non-emergency medical procedure,” but he said says the GOP will emerge stronger from this chaotic speaker stalemate that has brought the House of Representatives to a standstill.
After President Joe Biden said, “I just think it’s a little embarrassing it’s taking so long and the way they’re dealing with one another,” Buck argued that the Republican Party will emerge stronger from the standoff at the nation’s capitol over who should be the next Speaker of the House.
“I think America will judge us on – in two years have we made the policy changes necessary? And so if clean up the swamp a little and we can move forward in a strong manner, I think we’ll be judged with grace and judged positively,” said Buck, a Republican who represents Colorado’s 4th Congressional District.
Most others disagreed.
“The chaos caused by the inability of Kevin McCarthy and Republicans to govern is rapidly becoming serious,” said Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu. “No Member-elect can be briefed on anything that contains any classified information. We can’t approve or deny weapons sales, hold committee hearings or conduct oversight.”
None of the people elected by voters is able to take office until the chamber elects a Speaker.
McCarthy capitulated to almost all of his opponents’ demands, but the GOP leader’s most ardent detractors still appear to be dug in on their resolve to deny him the gavel as the House as it heads into the 10th vote.
The 21 Republicans who did not vote for McCarthy on every roll call generally, but not exclusively, come from uncompetitive districts. They almost all appear to have at least some connection to the House Freedom Caucus, a group of hardline right-wing conservatives.
While McCarthy is holding negotiations with his detractors, no progress was reflected during the third day in a row, as the California Republican fell short in his quest for speaker in the seventh, eighth, and ninth ballots.
The historic stalemate has paralyzed the new congressional majority, while divided Republicans left the speaker’s chair of the U.S. House sitting empty for a third day.
Rep. Lauren Boebert suggested that the GOP will settle on an alternative, and urged her Republican colleagues to consider a future without McCarthy: “We need a leader who is not of the broken system.”
Sen. Patty Murray is now second in the line of succession for the presidency.
Murray, 72, was elected as the president pro tempore of the Senate — a position that would normally put her third in the order of succession, after the vice president and the speaker of the House. But, there is no speaker of the House.
As the House of Representatives continues to struggle to elect a speaker, Fox News has come under fire from further right-wing media counterparts over what those critics describe as the network’s general support for McCarthy, who has repeatedly lost the speaker vote.
Commentators on Real America’s Voice, One America News Network, and Newsmax, among others, claim that Fox News is engaging in a blind, embarrassing defense of the Republican establishment.
The attacks against Fox intensified when Rep.-elect Lauren Boebert, one of the 20 Republicans who are refusing to support McCarthy appeared on the January 4 edition of Fox host Sean Hannity’s show, where he pressed against her refusal to vote for the leader selected by the GOP caucus.
A Democrat who promised to govern as an independent was elected speaker of the narrowly divided Pennsylvania House of Representatives in a surprising move Tuesday on the strength of every Democrat and more than a dozen GOP votes.
Rep. Mark Rozzi was elected speaker by a vote of 115-85 after Republicans were unable to convert a temporary two-seat majority into a vote to retain control of the chamber.
The election of Rozzi occurred on the same day that GOP Rep. Jason Stephens was elected speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives, jumping over Rep. Derek Merrin, who was chosen in November by House Republicans who hold a supermajority.
Stephens was elected Ohio House speaker with more support from Democrats than from his own party, with 54 votes to Merrin’s 43 on the opening day of the new two-year legislative session.
All 32 House Democrats voted for Stephens, the candidate thought would best foster bipartisanship, and 22 moderate Republicans joined them.
Merrin appeared to be locked in to lead the House but the young conservative was expected to move the state even further to the right, backing a near-total abortion ban, an anti-union “right-to-work” bill, and a proposal to phase out Ohio’s income tax.
The opportunity for a similar deal in Washington, since extremists allied with McCarthy and his GOP critics, appear intent on waging political warfare through government entities that would threaten to shut down any hope of productive policymaking.
Rep. James Comer—who is slated to lead the House Committee on Oversight and Reform—said Republicans will investigate security at the southern border, fentanyl crisis, pandemic relief fraud, botched Afghanistan withdrawal, energy crisis, Covid origins, and the Biden family’s businesses.
Republicans were frustrated by years of Democratic efforts to provide Americans the transparency and accountability they deserved over Trump-era scandals, even though the 2020 election loser emerged relatively unscathed by those congressional probes.
The anti-McCarthy forces do not have a clear alternative. The non-McCarthy votes were splintered on the first roll call. They then went to Rep. Jim Jordan, who himself backs McCarthy, on votes 2 and 3. The insurgents then backed Rep. Byron Donalds, the Tuesday vote-switcher, on votes 4, 5, and 6.
The entire Democratic caucus, with 212 votes, backed House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries on every vote, which was notable since former Speaker Nancy Pelosi always had at least a few detractors in each post-2010 vote.