House adjourns until Friday night after 4 days, 13 votes on who should be next speaker

House adjourns until Friday night after 4 days, 13 votes on who should be next speaker

(As originally published with more photos, Fri, January 6th 2023, 1:25 PM EST)

WASHINGTON (TND) — Friday marked the fourth day of the House of Representatives in session without a speaker and the votes started to go Kevin McCarthy’s way — until members decided to adjourn.

Two votes took place starting at noon ET and the question remained the same: Will most House Republicans be able to elect Rep. McCarthy as the speaker?

The California Republican needs 218 votes from the 435 House members to win the gavel but so far, conservative holdouts have been able to stop him in a political spectacle unseen in a century.

On vote 12, the first of this day, he received 213. That was more votes than he had in any of the previous 11, but still not enough.

Then, on vote 13, he received another, getting to 214.

But before vote 14 could take place, a majority of House members, 220, voted for a motion to adjourn until 10 p.m. ET.

House adjourns until Friday night after 4 days, 13 votes on who should be next speaker
Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., stands as he is nominated for a twelfth time in the House chamber as the House meets for the fourth day to elect a speaker and convene the 118th Congress in Washington, Friday, Jan. 6, 2023. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Friday morning — the second anniversary of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol — an upbeat McCarthy arrived at the Capitol, telling reporters, “We’re going to make progress. We’re going to shock you.”

McCarthy reportedly told colleagues on a private morning call there was no deal yet to secure his win to become speaker.

In the meantime, private negotiations with holdouts and perhaps concessions continued.

The House cannot swear in members and begin its 2023-24 session without a speaker.

Each day has featured nominating, discussing, voting, and repeating — except when there’s a motion to adjourn until the next day. There had been three votes on Tuesdaythree more on Wednesdayand five on Thursday.

The split among Republicans meant the person receiving the most votes for speaker each time — until Friday — has been Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York, but he won’t get support from the majority in the House.

Congressional deadlock: 3 days, 11 votes, and still no Speaker of the House
Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., right, talks with Rep. Andy Ogles, R-Tenn., during the eighth round of voting in the House chamber as the House meets for the third day to elect a speaker and convene the 118th Congress in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The problem for Republicans is a group of 20 far-right representatives who say McCarthy is not conservative enough.

They’ve been demanding rules changes that would shrink the power of the speaker’s office and give rank-and-file lawmakers more influence in drafting and passing legislation.

The biggest change would be reinstating a House rule to allow a single lawmaker to make a motion to “vacate the chair,” essentially calling a vote to oust the speaker. That rule caused problems for past Republican Speaker John Boehner. It was former Speaker Nancy Pelosi who got rid of the rule.

The holdouts also want more seats on the House Rules Committee.

Speaking of committees, a memo from the House’s chief administrative officer Thursday evening said committees “shall only carry-out core Constitutional responsibilities.”

The incoming Republican chairmen of the House’s Foreign Affairs, Armed Services and Intelligence committees all said national security was at risk.

There could be bigger trouble in a week. Payroll cannot be processed if the House isn’t functioning by Jan. 13.

Some holdouts repeatedly put forward the names of Rep. Byron Donalds of Florida and Rep. Kevin Hern of Oklahoma, splitting the protest vote.

Donalds, who is Black, is seen as an emerging party leader and a GOP counterpoint to the Democratic leader, Jeffries, who is the first Black leader of a major political party in the U.S. Congress and on track himself to become speaker some day.

Usually, selecting a speaker is an easy, joyous task for a party that just won majority control of the House. It has been for a century, literally. Going to a second vote hasn’t happened since 1923, much less a twelfth.

The longest fight for the gavel started in late 1855 and dragged on for two months, with 133 ballots, during debates over slavery in the run-up to the Civil War.

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