McCarthy Wins More Time With House Adjournment

Chamber will reconvene at noon Thursday, allowing speaker candidates to cut deals
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 4, 2023 5:16 PM CST
Updated Jan 4, 2023 8:05 PM CST
As House Adjourns, GOP Frustration With Holdouts Grows
Rep. Kevin McCarthy talks to reporters as he walks to his office as the House adjourns until later in the evening as they meet for a second day to elect a speaker and convene the 118th Congress in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023.   (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

On a two-vote margin, the House decided Wednesday night to adjourn until noon Thursday after six votes so far this week have failed to choose the next speaker. This already is the most protracted election for speaker the House has seen in a century—and it's far from clear that another night of negotiations among Republicans will be able to resolve their differences. Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who has fallen short in every vote, sought the adjournment to give him more time to lobby for support among GOP members opposed to his candidacy. "I don't think a vote tonight will make a difference," McCarthy said, per the Washington Post, "but a vote in the future will."

The results of the three votes Wednesday were identical, with 201 votes for McCarthy and 20 for Rep. Byron Donalds, who told the Post that all 20 are on the same page with their demands. Caucus members will now have a "real deliberative process and ability, which is expected of members of the legislature to go through these items and come to consensus," he said. Some Republicans, including McCarthy, said negotiations had made progress but not achieved an agreement. Several of those trying to block McCarthy voted with Democrats to remain in session Wednesday night and deny him time to cut deals before the next speaker vote. As long as there's no speaker, the House essentially is shut down, per the New York Times; it can't swear in the newly elected members, much less pass legislation or hold hearings.

Some McCarthy voters are growing frustrated, including Rep. Don Bacon, who told the Times that he "doesn't like being held hostage" by the holdouts. Contrary to Donalds' remarks, he said the hardline conservatives who voted against McCarthy are not a cohesive group with a consistent set of demands. Bacon said that if the stalemate continues, "at some point it may require a bipartisan solution." In each of the six rounds of voting, all 212 Democrats in the chamber voted for Rep. Hakeem Jeffries. The Post notes that Jeffries has now accumulated more votes in elections to be speaker of the House than John Boehner, who was nominated five times—in five different years—and served as speaker from 2011 to 2015.

Rep. Jeff Van Drew suggested it was time for leaders to "get everybody back in the caucus room and start beating the daylights out of each other until we get somewhere," Politico reports. He compared the situation to Dante's nine levels of hell, saying, "I'm in at least one of them right now." McCarthy has vowed that he will stay in the race for as long as it takes, and the holdouts also seem unwilling to budge. "It's just a matter of time until Kevin McCarthy finally realizes he doesn't have the 218 votes and he's not going to get 218 votes," Rep. Bob Good tweeted. This file has been updated with the adjournment and other developments Wednesday night. (Read more speaker of the House stories.)

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