WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican Kevin McCarthy pledged on Jan. 3 to remain in the race for a dominant seat in the House of Representatives. It comes hours after hard-line Republican members repeatedly blocked Mr McCarthy’s bid to run for the new majority.
On the first day of a brutal showdown between some 20 hardliners and 202 other members of the Republican caucus, McCarthy lost in three ballots, winning the 218 votes he needed to become chairman. . Vice President’s next office.
It’s an embarrassing start for the new Republican majority, and it highlights the challenges that the party may face over the next two years as we head into the 2024 presidential election. A small majority of 222 to 212 gives a small group of hardliners a lot of leverage. Hardliners want rule changes that would give them more control over who speaks and give them more influence over the party’s approach to spending and debt.
Late Tuesday, McCarthy told reporters that former President Donald Trump called him and repeatedly expressed his support. continue to be a person.
McCarthy, 57, from California, knew he was in trouble heading into Tuesday’s vote and vowed to continue to force the vote. However, the House voted Tuesday night to adjourn until noon ET on Wednesday (1700 GMT).
Conservative MP Jim Jordan, 58, Ohio, received 20 votes in the final ballot of the day, far from the threshold of 218 to become Speaker, but it would be enough to stop McCarthy. It was enough.
Rep. Kenneth Back, who voted in McCarthy’s favor, said, “I think Kevin knows this is his last chance. However, noting that it failed in the face of conservative opposition, he added, “He is not going to get this chance again.”
A lengthy presidential election could undermine House Republican hopes to expedite an investigation into Democratic President Joe Biden and his administration, as well as legislative priorities including the economy, U.S. energy independence, and border security. there is.
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, the top Democrat in the House, defeated McCarthy by all three votes. A majority vote, not a plurality of voters, is required to determine who speaks.
A stalemate could leave the House largely paralyzed and force lawmakers to consider alternative Republican candidates. In addition to Jordan, his 57-year-old Steve Scalise, from Louisiana, was considered the next leader of the party.
The last time the House failed to elect a Speaker on the first ballot was 1923.
“gather around him”
Jordan himself spoke out in favor of McCarthy before the nomination and voted for him three times.
“We need to support him,” Jordan said in an impassioned speech in the House of Commons. “I think Kevin McCarthy is the right person to lead us.”
Jordan is a staunch ally of Trump and co-founder of the conservative House Liberal caucuses.
Jordan, a former college wrestler, is preparing to oversee an investigation by the House Judiciary Committee into the Department of Justice and the FBI under the Biden administration.
McCarthy’s hardline opponents worry he’s not investing enough in the culture wars and partisan conflicts that have dominated the House.
Before the vote, McCarthy tried to persuade the holdouts during a closed-door party meeting, vowing to stay in the race until he got the votes he needed, but many of the participants undauntedly walked out of the rally. I got
McCarthy suggested to reporters later on Tuesday that his path to becoming chairman would be with members voting “present”, neither for nor against him.
McCarthy has spent his entire adult life in politics. He was elected to the House of Representatives in 2006 after serving as a member of parliament and a state legislature. As chairman, McCarthy would be well positioned to thwart Biden’s legislative ambitions.
But any Republican speaker tends to be uncompromising and, at least among some members of Congress, will have the difficult task of managing a House GOP caucuses pledged allegiance to Trump.
The Republican struggle with the right has cut short the careers of the last two Republican chairs, with John Boehner resigning from his post in 2015 and Paul Ryan choosing not to run for re-election in 2018.
The record number of voting rounds to elect the Speaker of the House was 133 in two months in the 1850s.
The Democrats chose Jeffries as minority leader after Nancy Pelosi, the first woman to serve as chair, announced she was stepping down from her leadership role. She will remain as representative.
Reporting by David Morgan, Moira Warburton, Gram Slattery. Additional reporting by Richard Cowan and Makini Brice.Editing by Scott Malone, Alistair Bell, Will Dunham, Howard Goller
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