- House adjourns until 8pm ET as Republicans remain deadlocked
Two days. Six votes. Still no Speaker of the House.
It’s been a bizarre “Groundhog Day” on Capitol Hill, where the House of Representatives, which has a new Republican majority, is still gridlocked on who should become the next Speaker of the House. No other business can proceed until one is appointed. As we wrap up our US politics coverage for tonight, here are the key events of today:
- After another three rounds of voting on Wednesday, California congressman Kevin McCarthy still does not have enough votes to be elected speaker, with 20 Republican holdouts, including a number of far-right Republican “rebels”, blocking the former GOP leader from assuming the leadership of Republicans’ new majority.
- McCarthy has lost a total six leadership votes over the past two days.
- As Republicans continue to negotiate over who should become the next speaker, McCarthy supporters are still optimistic that they might be able to bring enough GOP members around with political concessions to elect him tomorrow.
- Meanwhile, some Republicans are eyeing an alternate candidate, including number two House Republican leader Steve Scalise, who survived a mass shooting attack on congressional Republicans in 2017.
- Congressional Democrats, who lost the House majority in the 2022 midterm elections, are savoring the Republican chaos.
- At 8pm ET, House Republicans narrowly succeeded in voting to adjourn the House until noon on Thursday, to give McCarthy and his allies more time to negotiate a deal before a seventh vote. Democrats almost succeeded in blocking this vote.
Democrats, now the minority in the House, are ‘literally eating popcorn’ as GOP flails
Democrats lost the majority in the 2022 midterm elections. But the new Republican House majority is so divided that a vote on who should become the speaker of the House has led to multiple days of gridlock and failure for California congressman Kevin McCarthy, who led House Republicans when they were in the minority, and expected to be voted in as speaker.
No normal business can begin in the House until the body has elected a speaker.
How are Democrats feeling? “They love this. They’re literally eating popcorn,” CNN’s Anderson Cooper said.
And Democratic members of Congress also stayed “super united” tonight, almost succeeding in their effort to block House Republicans from adjourning tonight before holding another vote.
It’s ‘Groundhog Day’ at the Capitol. And it may be Groundhog Day again tomorrow
It’s been a weird day on Capitol Hill, as lawmakers finally sent themselves home after 8pm, after a second day of multiple failed votes for Kevin McCarthy as speaker of the house.
NPR’s Deirdre Walsh dubbed it “Groundhog Day – congressional version”.
Walsh noted that the standoff had turned the minutiae of congressional procedure into breaking news covered live on cable news.
Will McCarthy rally after two days of failure or will the GOP move on to Scalise?
Some Republicans are ready to move forward and take a vote on electing Steve Scalise, the current number two GOP House leader, as speaker of the house, CNN’s Jamie Gangel reported ahead of the House’s vote to adjourn for tonight.
Scalise, who was shot and seriously injured in a 2017 mass shooting that targeted congressional Republicans during a baseball practice outside Washington DC, is seen by some Republicans as a heroic figure for his demeanor in the wake of the shooting, which did not sway him or other Republicans away from their pro-gun, anti-gun control stances.
After years in which the death toll from rightwing political violence has far outpaced the toll from leftwing violence, some congressional Republicans see value in having a leader who personally survived a politically motivated attack that targeted Republican lawmakers.
“They want to be able to have that argument that the extremism is on both sides,” CNN’s Abby Phillip said.
But McCarthy supporters are feeling more optimistic that the next hours before the house adjourns at noon on Thursday might be enough to secure a deal which could result in a victory for McCarthy, congressional reporters said.
‘Glimmers of hope’ for McCarthy as speaker as House adjourns for more negotiation
As House Republicans have voted to adjourn for tonight, giving them more time to negotiate over their next vote for the new speaker of the house, CNN’s Melanie Zanona said that Kevin McCarthy supporters see some “glimmers of hope” that, despite his failure in six previous votes, the California congressman might succeed in winning the leadership role.
Other Hill reporters saw “good signs for McCarthy”.
After six votes over two days, the House pushes off new speaker vote until Thursday
In a vote that ended in shouts and confusion, with an CNN anchor asking, “Is this normal?” House Republicans narrowly succeeded in adjourning the House until noon on Thursday, delaying a seventh vote on electing the speaker of the House.
The vote was 216-214.