After six stinging defeats over two days in his quest to become House speaker, Rep. Kevin McCarthy is expected to keep trying when the chamber reconvenes at noon Thursday. Sources tell the Washington Post that during an hourslong adjournment after Wednesday's third vote, McCarthy made more concessions to a group of 20 conservative holdouts blocking his election. After the meeting, McCarthy told reporters progress had been made. A motion to adjourn until Thursday narrowly passed. New concessions included a deal with the conservative Club for Growth, the New York Times reports. The McCarthy-aligned Congressional Leadership Fund super PAC agreed not to spend money supporting candidates in open primaries in safe Republican seats.
All three votes in the House Wednesday had the same result: 212 for Democratic Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, 202 for McCarthy, 20 for GOP Rep. Byron Donalds, and a "present" vote from GOP Rep. Victoria Spartz. The anti-McCarthy Republicans continued to criticize him after the House adjourned for a second time Wednesday. "Kevin McCarthy has no ideology," tweeted Rep. Matt Gaetz. "He’s a vessel through which lobbyists and special interests operate." Former President Trump, whose call early Wednesday for Republicans to get behind McCarthy didn't sway a single vote, praised Donalds later in the day but denied reports he had endorsed him. "He will have his day and it will be a big one, but not now," Trump wrote on Truth Social.
Rep. Steve Scalise, the No. 2 House Republican, declined to discuss negotiations, Politico reports. "There’s just been a lot of conversations about the issues that have been at the heart of this from the beginning, and that’s how we can make Congress work better to address the needs of families who are struggling," said Scalise, who is seen as a possible McCarthy replacement if the stalemate can't be broken. The AP reports that one possible route to the speakership would involve getting some of the rebels to vote "present" instead voting for another person. That would reduce the number of votes needed for a majority in a strategy used previously by House speakers including John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi. (Read more speaker of the House stories.)