Kevin McCarthy Loses 7th & 8th Round Of Voting For Speaker


Kevin McCarthy keeps losing.

On Thursday, the House GOP leader lost in what was the seventh overall vote held for House Speaker. Like before, he didn’t even get the most votes. Instead, that designation went to Hakeem Jeffries, a New York Democratic Congressman who became House Democratic leader, but he didn’t secure the Speaker role either because what’s needed is a majority across the chamber, and Republicans have incoming control. A lot of the Republicans opposing McCarthy’s prospective House Speakership have thrown their support behind Byron Donalds, a Republican Congressman from Florida who would be kickstarting his second term if the House can ever get moving. As long as the campaign for Speaker is unresolved, the chamber is procedurally paralyzed.

McCarthy didn’t pick up a single vote from the most recent Republican opposition in the seventh round of voting, which was the first round to be held Thursday — what’s now the third day across which the process has extended. Matt Gaetz, the infamous Florida GOP Congressman who has helped lead his party’s opposition to Kevin taking over as Speaker, voted for Donald Trump for the role during the seventh round, the only member doing so. Every single Democrat voted for Jeffries for Speaker during all seven — and counting — votes that were held, suggesting the party was significantly better in basic, strategic terms at holding its members together. McCarthy needs a majority of voting members specifically, so legislators skipping votes could lower the required threshold, as could some voting “present” instead.

McCarthy’s continued failures came after an endorsement for his candidacy for Speaker by Trump and reports of potential concessions on his part, like allowing evidently the far-right Republicans opposing him to select one-third of the Republican members on the House Rules Committee, which handles measures heading to the floor and could therefore derail initiatives supported even by more traditional Republicans but opposed by figures like Gaetz. Also among possible concessions was an opportunity for any one member to force a vote on booting the Speaker, although those involved in negotiations hadn’t reached a final deal.

The House was moving right into an eighth vote Thursday, although it was unclear it would suddenly turn out differently. (And in fact, it didn’t.) Some have raised concerns about the national security — and other — implications of the House continuing without a Speaker, since its members remain technically not even sworn in, evidently leaving otherwise key figures unable to secure needed security clearances. “The lack of a House speaker is a national security issue,” Jason Crow, a Colorado Democratic Congressman, said. “Members of the House Intelligence and Armed Services Committees aren’t receiving classified briefings or conducting oversight of NatSec agencies. Republicans must end the chaos!”