US House in chaos after Kevin McCarthy loses speaker votes

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Top user Asked on January 4, 2023 in Education.
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US House in chaos after Kevin McCarthy loses speaker votes

RE: US House in chaos after Kevin McCarthy loses speaker votes

Republican leader Kevin McCarthy’s attempts to be elected Speaker of the US House of Representatives were repeatedly unsuccessful on a day of political drama in Congress not seen in a century.

Tuesday night’s adjournment of the House without a speaker marked the first time since 1923 that a first-round vote for a speaker had failed.

After winning control of the lower chamber in the elections held in November, the beginning of a new Congress was meant to be the Republican Party’s victory lap. Rather, Mr. McCarthy encountered a coup among his own ranks and went down in history for all the wrong reasons. 

The California congressman has so far lost three consecutive votes for speaker, and it’s uncertain how he may succeed when the House reconvenes on Wednesday. They will keep voting until a majority is reached.

Analysts caution that even if Mr. McCarthy finds a way, the unrest on the House floor portends a turbulent two years of conflict between moderate and right-wing Republicans.

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‘Negotiations made him look weak’

Republicans narrowly took control of the House in November, therefore Mr. McCarthy’s campaign to become Speaker was successful with a small margin of victory. That made it possible for a group of staunch conservatives to unite and reject his nomination.

Republicans who follow politics claim that the gap has been building for a while.

One Republican lobbyist who wanted to talk openly about Tuesday’s vote sought anonymity. “Kevin McCarthy has not made friends with some sectors of the caucus for a while, he’s made a lot of enemies,” the lobbyist said. There are others who dislike him for both personal and political grounds.

McCarthy engaged in conversations with those who oppose him because they believe he is too mainstream and power-hungry, making compromises in an effort to earn their support. He apparently agreed to amend the House rules at one time to make it simpler to remove a Speaker who is in office, giving his rivals a significant check on his authority.

The Republican lobbyist claimed that the fact that the man was even talking with the Republicans “made him appear very, very weak to the point of being desperate.”

His opponents feel emboldened

On Tuesday, it became apparent that the strategy was fruitless.

Mr. McCarthy failed to get the necessary 218 votes in three consecutive votes. Republicans now command 222 seats, but a group of 19 hard-right Republicans have united to oppose him. They disagree with Mr. McCarthy on intellectual and personal reasons, but they also see a chance to take advantage of the Republican Party’s slim majority to compel him to make further compromises.

Representative Rob Good, a Republican from Virginia, assured reporters on Tuesday that they will “never back down.”

RE: US House in chaos after Kevin McCarthy loses speaker votes

One of the Republicans scheming against Mr. McCarthy is Representative Matt Gaetz.

Just seconds after Representative Jim Jordan proposed Mr. McCarthy for Speaker, they even nominated Mr. Jordan’s challenger, Rep. Jim Jordan, in one of the day’s most dramatic moments.

In the third round of voting, even though Mr. Jordan, a prominent member of the hard-right Freedom Caucus, asked Republicans to “unite around” Mr. McCarthy, 20 Republicans still voted for Mr. Jordan, depriving Mr. McCarthy the victory.

In the meantime, Democrats stuck together behind their party’s new leader, New York Representative Hakeem Jeffries.

A few couldn’t resist openly making fun of their Republican colleagues’ trying afternoon. Democrats were “breaking the popcorn out,” said one congressman, Ruben Gallego of Arizona, in a tweet that included a picture of the snack as proof.

What are McCarthy’s options now?

Theoretical speculation about how this may all turn out has started among political analysts in Washington. Their forecasts to the BBC varied from the realistic (Mr. McCarthy fights through and prevails, but leaves the contest very depleted) to the completely improbable (he bows out and backs his second in command, Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana). One proposal was almost fantastical (five Republicans decide to vote for Mr Jeffries, a Democrat, and deliver him control of the House).

Right now, according to Ruth Bloch Rubin, a political scientist at the University of Chicago who specialises in polarisation, Mr. McCarthy is “basically a prisoner to one wing of his party.”

Although Mr. McCarthy has vowed to stop making concessions, he might not have a choice. He might offer lucrative committee assignments or new leadership positions in an effort to sway recalcitrant legislators.

Aaron Cutler, a lobbyist who had worked for former congressman Eric Cantor, another politician who was overthrown by conservative opposition, said, “He’s got to give the folks who are against him something to hang their hat on.” However, the second Republican lobbyist was of the opinion that there was “absolutely no route to success, period.”

On Wednesday, members will meet once again, although it’s uncertain whether the impasse will end.

Representative Lauren Boebert of Colorado, one of the conservative holdouts, told reporters, “We haven’t heard anything fresh from McCarthy.” So I suppose we’ll simply carry on as before.

Top user Answered on January 4, 2023.
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