A drama not seen in American politics in a century has plunged the leadership of the US House of Representatives into a tug-of-war and shows deep divisions in the Republican Party.
After an intense legislative session, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from California, reaped defeat in Congress this Tuesday. In three rounds To vote for the next leader of the Legislative Council, historic political chaos erupted within his party.
This new Congress was supposed to return Joe Biden’s opposition party to power after winning the midterm elections last November. However, McCarthy faced a revolt within his own ranks and made history for all the wrong reasons.
This is This is the first time in a century A candidate who presides over the House of Representatives does not have the votes to fill that seat. After Tuesday’s vote, the legislators decided to adjourn the session and resume voting on Wednesday afternoon.
McCarthy’s candidacy still stands, though it’s unclear how he will convince. 20 to the republican rebels who voted against him in favor of him.
“We’ll be there until we win,” McCarthy told reporters ahead of the third ballot, refusing to stand down and insisting the numbers would ultimately be in his favor.
This year, when a new legislature begins, there are only 222 Republicans in the House, so McCarthy could only lose four votes from his party because he needs at least 218 approvals to become speaker of that chamber (if there are no members of Congress). abstain from voting).
He received 203 votes in each of the first two rounds, and an additional Republican turned against him in the third round.
212 Democrats voted for their party’s leader and representative Hakeem Jeffreys From New York.
What comes next?
The chamber will vote for its new president until a candidate is elected by a majority.
The Legislature may not pursue any other business while in elected office. These include the swearing in of new members of Congress and the adoption of new rules and laws.
It is not yet clear how many rounds of voting members will have to decide on the name, but the process could continue for days if consensus is not reached.
The last time a candidate for Speaker of the House of Representatives failed to receive the required number of votes in the first round was in 1923; It took nine votes and several days to reach an agreement.
In 1855, the Lower House required 133 votes, and after two months of deadlock, they were able to reach a consensus on a candidate that was neither a Democrat nor a Republican at the time.
Why does McCarthy face opposition?
Previous speakers of the U.S. House of Representatives faced obstacles entering the new Congress, but were able to rally themselves once the official vote came.
By contrast, since Republicans won control of the House in last November’s midterm elections, McCarthy has faced opposition from far-right members of his own party.
Holdouts oppose his presidency for ideological and personal reasons, and spent weeks negotiating with McCarthy for concessions, such as changes to the procedure for removing a sitting House speaker.
The group is chaired by Republican Andy Biggs (Arizona), who has positioned himself as an alternative despite being a longtime candidate, and by Matt Gates (Florida), who spent much of the last Congress in fear of a federal investigation. Biggs received 10 votes in the first round, with nine Republicans supporting other candidates.
In the second round, all 19 rogue Republicans supported Jim Jordan (Ohio) and in the third round, support for Jordan rose to 20.
Republican representative Bob Good said Republican members who opposed McCarthy would never back down, saying they wanted a “reluctant warrior” as House speaker, according to the BBC’s US affiliate CBS.
“The sooner McCarthy retires, the better for the country,” he added.
Summing up the frustration with McCarthy, prominent right-wing Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson said: “McCarthy isn’t particularly conservative. He’s ideologically agnostic. His real constituency is the lobbying community in Washington. If he has real political beliefs, that’s infuriating.”
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