House speaker vote in chaos as McCarthy fails to win majority in first two rounds of voting

Rep. Kevin McCarthy continued to struggle on Tuesday to get enough votes to become Speaker of the Houseas 19 Republicans voted against him again in the second round, securing a third round of voting, a sign of continuing divisions within the meager Republican majority in the 118th Congress.

Tuesday’s vote marked the first time in 100 years that the House speaker’s vote has gone through multiple ballots.

Given the very slim Republican majority in the House, McCarthy could only afford to lose four Republican votes. By losing 19 Republican votes, McCarthy not only missed the necessary majority, he also found himself trailing Democratic Representative Hakeem Jeffries, who received all of the Democratic votes.

The Speaker of the House, who ranks second for the Presidency behind only the Vice President, needs a majority of the entire House of Representatives to be elected. Members cannot be sworn in until the House has a new Speaker.

House and Senate meet for 118th Congress on Capitol Hill
U.S. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) reacts as Representatives vote for Speaker of the House on the first day of the 118th Congress in the U.S. Capitol Chamber United on January 03, 2023 in Washington, DC.

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Republican Rep. Bob Good of Virginia, who voted against McCarthy in the first and second rounds, told CBS News the bloc of GOP lawmakers that opposed McCarthy’s run for president “will never back down.”

At the House GOP conference meeting on Tuesday morning, McCarthy raised his voice as he made an impassioned appeal to Republicans, telling them he had “won” the presidency, two sources familiar with the matter told CBS News. meeting.

McCarthy met with Republicans at the House Freedom Caucus Monday night, telling reporters Tuesday night that the meeting was “intense” but that he would not be held hostage by them and that he was ready for a battle on the floor of bedroom.

“I will always fight to put the American people first, not a few individuals who want something for themselves,” McCarthy said before the vote. “We can have a battle on the field. But the battle is for the conference and the country, and that’s fine with me.”

Outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi received a bipartisan ovation when she banged the gavel at the meeting, her final act as leader. She announced after Election Day that she would not seek leadership, paving the way for a new generation of Democrats, led by Jeffries.

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