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.