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January 04, 2023 10:18 AM UTC

Still No House Speaker After Six Rounds of Voting

  • by: Colorado Pols

UPDATE #13: After a brief gavel-in, the leaderless U.S. House is in recess until noon Eastern tomorrow.


UPDATE #12: The GOP circus is officially in recess until 8:00 pm EST.


UPDATE #11: Kevin McCarthy fails on Ballot #6 with the same number of Republicans (21) refusing to support his candidacy.

House Republicans reportedly want to take a break from bashing their foreheads against a wall:


“The Daily Show” wins the Internet for today:


UPDATE #10: After five failed ballots, it’s less a question of which side blinks first, since nobody is blinking–but rather how much more humiliation Kevin McCarthy can take:


UPDATE #9: And…McCarthy will fail on Ballot #5.


UPDATE #8: Colorado Rep-elect Lauren Boebert rises to nominate Byron Donalds for House Speaker. She has a lot of grievances with Kevin McCarthy, apparently.

Boebert says the job of the House is not to “go along to get along” and calls on McCarthy to withdraw his name for consideration. This is how Boebert “turns down the temperature” in a toxic partisan swamp.


UPDATE #7: Democratic Rep-elect Pete Aguilar nominates Hakim Jeffries again, noting that Jeffries has been the top vote-getter in the last three rounds of voting. That’s gotta sting.


UPDATE #6: Republican Rep-elect Warren Davidson of Ohio nominates Kevin McCarthy to be House Speaker, kicking off Round 5 of Congressional Thunderdome.


UPDATE #5: Gah!


UPDATE #4: We have our first “present” vote — Indiana Republican Rep-elect Victoria Spartz (who was previously a McCarthy vote). Round 4 is complete.

In the third Speaker vote on Tuesday, 20 Republicans voted against Kevin McCarthy for Speaker — one more than the 19 who had picked someone else in the first two rounds of voting.

Last night, former President Donald Trump endorsed McCarthy for House Speaker. Today, 21 Republicans voted for someone other than McCarthy.

Trump’s endorsement is now a net negative for Republicans.


UPDATE #3: Welp, that didn’t take long. We didn’t even get through the ‘C’s in the alphabet before McCarthy’s hopes were dashed again.


UPDATE #2: Colorado Rep-elect Lauren Boebert votes for Byron Donalds. Colorado Rep-elect Ken Buck goes with Kevin McCarthy, as does the corpse of Doug Lamborn.

Boebert voted for Rep-elect Jim Jordan of Ohio three times on Tuesday. Buck and Lamborn have stuck with McCarthy.


UPDATE: Rep-elect Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin opens the day by nominating Kevin McCarthy for House Speaker (again). Gallagher starts with a lame speech about how “Democracy is messy” and how it is just really neat that they can have disagreements in Congress.

Texas Republican Rep-elect Chip Roy then rises and nominates Florida Republican Rep-elect Byron Donalds as Speaker. Donalds was first elected to Congress in 2020.

It looks like today is going to go about the same as it did on Tuesday.


The microphone tells the story for Kevin McCarthy

So, uh, now what?

The House of Representatives reconvenes today (click here to watch live) without a House Speaker and with every member in the chamber still carrying the title of “Rep-elect” because they haven’t yet been officially sworn in to office. Republican Rep-elect Kevin McCarthy failed on Tuesday to secure enough votes to become House Speaker…not once, not twice, but thrice.

As Charlie Sykes writes for The Bulwark, McCarthy suffered a “hat trick of humiliation” on Tuesday:

Historians should note that the party that lost control of the House brought popcorn to the ceremony. The party that “won” blew itself up. And then did it again. And again. And then left for a night of pizza, bitterness, and recriminations. Meanwhile, the MAGA crackup accelerated as crackpots fought with nihilists, wingnuts pointed fingers at extremists, and grifters started slap-fights with one another.

This isn’t just about the embarrassing chaos that Republicans have inflicted on themselves, because as Philip Bump explains for The Washington Post, the entire chamber is in limbo:

A report from the endlessly useful Congressional Research Service explains the chain of events that usually leads to the swearing-in of members of the House. First, the House convenes (at noon on Jan. 3, unless the prior Congress changes things). There’s no clerk of the House yet, so the clerk of the preceding Congress checks that there’s a quorum — meaning that at least half of the full body is present. Then, the chamber votes on a speaker, itself a role defined in the Constitution. The speaker is sworn in.

The speaker then swears in the members-elect. That happens en masse on the House floor, but photographs are banned; the photos you see of new members posing with the speaker are ceremonial, souvenirs.

You can see the problem. On Tuesday, after three votes, the House had failed to select a speaker. Without a speaker, there was no administration of the oath to the new members. So they wait at the starting line, “runners” instead of runners. Or, to use the proper vernacular, members-elect instead of members.

Rep-elect Brittany Pettersen

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called for all members to be sworn-in to office so that friends and family in Washington D.C. for the event can go back to their own lives. All of Colorado’s elected Representatives — including its two newest members, Democrats Brittany Pettersen and Yadira Caraveo — are still waiting to be officially inducted as members of the new Congress. But it’s not clear if this can take place without an election for Speaker.

In short, the lower chamber is effectively paralyzed until somebody is selected to hold the gavel.

We will update this space throughout the day as we did on Tuesday.


47 thoughts on “Still No House Speaker After Six Rounds of Voting

    1. The record was set before the Civil War … 133 rounds of balloting. 

      Of course, that was back in a day when "real work" in the session didn't begin immediately, but in the fall, about a year after the general election was held.

      The most recent case of multiple balloting was in 1923, when a two-term Speaker ran for a 3rd time.  That one resolved when the Speaker's rep agreed that the Progressives' proposals for rules changes would be "fairly considered."  The morning of the 3rd day, a 9th vote, and the Speaker was resurrected into office.

      Other cases — lots of them — the votes were stage managed to allow people or to say "present" but for the leader to win with a majority of those voting with a name.  Pelosi won in 2007 with every Democrat voting for her.  In 2021, Pelosi won with a majority of the 427 voting for a name (430 overall responses on the roll call)

      Pelosi: 216 ; McCarthy: 209; Duckworth: 1; Jeffries: 1; Present: 3

  1. Even if they do eventually elect a speaker, there will be so much leftover ill will and animosity these idiots will be at each other's throats constantly over the next two years. That's a good thing.

  2. Interesting times among some states:

    Ohio:  "Republican Jason Stephens banded together with Democrats and Republican moderates to pull off a stunning upset in the race for Ohio House Speaker on Tuesday."


    "The Pennsylvania House of Representatives overcame a deadlock Tuesday to elect Rep. Mark Rozzi as its next speaker, making him the first independent to ever hold the position.

    The vote was preceded by weeks of political jockeying in the state legislature after Democrats obtained a one-seat House majority in the November elections. Despite the 102-101 edge over Republicans, vacancies in three Democratic districts cut their ranks to 99, leaving the speakership and the chamber's legislative agenda in doubt. 

    Rozzi, a longtime Democrat who began his sixth term representing the 126th District in Berks County, changed his party affiliation to independent to garner the support of 16 Republicans. They helped him secure the speakership with a 115-85 vote.

  3. lol @ Bobo calling on the old incontinent morbidly obese adderall junkie/serial rapist to contact McCarthy and tell him to quit because he just doesn't have the votes. Imagine Orange Jeebus saying that an insufficient number of votes is reason to concede!

  4. An entirely too clever idea:

    Since it's a vote in alphabetical order, keep track of votes and the last 12 or so Democrats vote "Present" if there's enough votes for Jeffries to win without their vote.

    Are any of the late-alphabet Republicans not-McCarthy voters? That could also force them to vote for McCarthy instead of allowing Jeffries to win.

    I don't think this would actually work but I'm curious if it could.

      1. Next time by shoe size!

        Next time by number of guns owned. This time Republicans will be so excited to show how much guns they have, they won't realize that voting before most of the Democrats would give Democrats the advantage.

  5. Posturing and Power.

    The hostage takers are happy to continue making McCarthy squirm. They're getting lots of press, and demonstrating time and again, that they hold the trump cards. 

    In that light, the repeated votes are a win for the crazy caucus. I don't see any incentive for them to fix the situation. 

    Welcome to the new dystopia. And, watch what happens when the debt ceiling vote comes up.

  6. "My Kevin" has a very high humiliation threshold.

    Remember the way in which schlepped down to Mar-A-Lago to kiss the ass of Orange Jesus after denouncing Trump after 1/6/21? Or the way in which he defended Empty G and the rest of screwball caucus when they would go out and do or say something outlandish? Or the way in which he has remained silent about George "Believe Me" Santos?

    This is his last chance for the Golden Ring. He has nothing to lose by soldiering on. As Moderatus would say, "Stay the course Representative McCarthy! Some day they will thank you!"

  7. AOC had some interesting comments earlier today. Although she told Matt Gaetz and Paul Gosar that the Dems would not help save “My Kevin” yesterday, she put out a scenario where the Dems might join with some of the few sane Republicans (e.g., Don Bacon and company) to elect a speaker with some kind of power sharing arrangement. She did not go into details.

    I say the Dems should start putting together a plan for election of a non-current House member as speaker (John Kasich?), equal representation on all committees, co-chairs for each committee (one D, one R), and basically Jeffries and the GOP leader would have veto power over who is named committee co-chairs by the opposite party.

  8. Starting to wonder now if a "coalition of grownups" between the Dems and McCarthy would be to any advantage. Seems like there would be some opportunity there.

    The main benefit is dropping the bomb and neutering the eternally performative freedom batshit crazy caucus, but could the Dems depend on McCarthy holding to any deal that is struck? Sorry, I just answered my own question.


    1. No, not McCarthy. He is a snake.

      The one and only thing on which I agree with the Screwball Caucus is that you cannot trust McCarthy.

      Bring in a Republican who has some credibility with both sides of the aisle.

      Former Representative Fred Upton’s name has been mentioned. He voted to impeach Trump after 1/6.

  9. To Paraphrase South Park:

    Kyle:  IIIIKE!!! Do your impersonation of Kevin McCarthy's career!

    Ike [up in a tree]:  It's My Turn! (Jumps out of tree head first into the snow).

  10. Dems need to start coordinating better celebrations for Jeffries' vote totals. Maybe next time they do the wave or dab or all clap at once but only once.

    1. I'm hoping this goes on until summer.

      Every day they don't elect a speaker is a day they cannot investigate: (a) the Biden family, (b) the so-called border crisis, (c) Dr. Fauci, (d) China and COVID, (e) the so-called stolen 2020 presidential election, (f) Nancy Pelosi's role in 1/6 insurrection, (g) whether there are furries in the public and private schools, and (h) the Jewish space laser.

  11. The Republican Party is a Failed State and Donald Trump is its Warlord. Josh Marshall from TPM.

    It’s not the case that every Republican member of Congress is the same as Jim Jordan or Matt Gaetz. But virtually all of them rely on a coalition of voters that wants to support Jim Jordan and Matt Gaetz. That’s really all that matters. The GOP is a balkanized party made up of elected officials who either are Jim Jordan or aren’t willing to cross Jim Jordan.

    So, as Saletan famously put it, the GOP is a failed state and Donald Trump is its warlord. Now Trump is at least partly pushed off the stage. Trumpism — which is really Freedom Caucusism — gave Republicans their dismal result. What is really happening with the 20 rebels is that the Freedom Caucus, the Trump caucus, is saying again that they rule the GOP, which they do. The narrowness of the GOP majority, which they are responsible for, has brought the fracture into the open in a way that is as yet unbridgeable. 

    Since 2015 and especially since January 2019, Kevin McCarthy’s theory of the case has been that he can solve the problem John Boehner and Paul Ryan never could. His solution? Stop arguing with the Freedom Caucus and give them whatever they want. But it didn’t work. We hear all of these complaints about how they can’t trust Kevin McCarthy, the rebels can’t trust Kevin McCarthy. The reality is that they can trust him to give in to literally every far-right demand. But it hasn’t been enough. Because at heart the GOP is now a burn-it-down party. They want to break things. There are no chits McCarthy can give them. Because breaking things is the goal. At this moment the thing is Kevin McCarthy. But that’s just momentary.

  12. QOTD from the Colorado Republican delegation. Ladies and gentlemen, Ken Buck:

    Buck suggested that Republicans adjourn and go downstairs to meet in private. “I don’t know if alcohol will help,” Buck said, “or if we need to bring in a plate of Colorado brownies.”

  13. End of the day … an inconclusive voice vote, followed by a request for a recorded vote. 

    As they went through the names, it became clear that it basically was a party vote, resulting in passing the motion to recess:  216-214.  All Democrats voting (210) were no votes.  "4 House Republicans voted with all Democrats NOT to adjourn the House until Noon tomorrow, forcing a seventh Speaker vote tonight: Biggs, Boebert, Crane and Gaetz."

    Back for more tomorrow at noon Eastern time.


  14. Boebert was interviewed on Stephanie Ruhle ‘s 11th hour show. Bobo claimed that the restof her caucus is “ silently cheeringus on,” and that none of McCarthy’s concessionsis good enough.

    Michael Steele hadsome good analysis afterward.

  15. Boebert is having a ball.  She loves the spotlight and maybe Gaetz.  I think she should be ignored. She  only won her seat with about  500 votes or so…..just like Bush, the little.  He started two wars and won a second term.

  16. I have only one question for these fucking republicans…What kind of sound will Gaetz's forehead make, when smacked with an open hand? that one has been nagging me since I thought that Marge three toes would like to sit on his face….

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