House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy lost a ninth round vote for Speaker, which would mean he’s lost three races each of the last three days.
No House Speaker vote has gone on this long in modern US political history, and it’s set Republicans’ new majority in the chamber off to a rocky start.
In 1856, it took two months and 133 rounds of voting for the House of Representatives to settle on a leader.
The nominations went on as expected, with McCarthy’s name back in the ring alongside Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries and GOP spoiler candidate Rep. Byron Donalds.
Firebrand Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert delivered a surprising fourth nomination, however, this time for Republican Study Committee Chairman Kevin Hern.
She claimed ‘threats were made’ behind closed doors against members who refused to support McCarthy, and said the leader’s Speakership bid was ‘not happening.’
‘We need to get to a point where we start evaluating what life after Kevin McCarthy looks like,’ Boebert said, adding that she ‘loved’ the intense debate raging in the Republican cloakroom and through the halls of the US Capitol.
US Republican Representative Kevin McCarthy listens before the House of Representatives votes for a seventh time for a new speaker at the US Capitol in Washington, DC
It comes after McCarthy lost the first two rounds on Thursday along similar margins that he’s seen earlier this week.
Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, voted for Donald Trump in the first two rounds but switched to Hern on the third, alongside Boebert and Hern’s fellow Oklahoma Republican Rep.-elect Josh Brecheen.
Boebert earlier cast her vote for Hern without nominating him first – in the second round of the day and eighth overall.
She first only mentioned support for ‘Kevin,’ twisting her knife of disapproval into the embattled GOP leader as she clarified her support was with Hern.
Boebert told DailyMail.com that she had switched her vote from Donalds to Hern because ‘we’re not gonna get the votes’ to back the black Florida Republican.
Brecheen told DailyMail.com he voted for Hern because ‘He is from Oklahoma, he’s got a very good track record on fiscal responsibility.’
McCarthy spent much of the third day of votes walking around the chamber speaking to both allies and holdouts (seen speaking with Republican Rep.-elect Cory Mills of Florida)
He shook hands with Texas Rep. Troy Nehls after the former sheriff nominated him for the third round of Thursday votes
Rep.-elect George Santos is seen speaking with fellow Republican Rep.-elect Pat Fallon on the third day of votes
In the seventh round vote earlier on Thursday, McCarthy’s tally of ‘no’ votes quickly exceeded the four-member threshold he can afford to lose, as the members of the same group of ‘Never Kevin’ Republicans shot down his quest for the gavel.
While the majority of those rebels voted for Florida GOP Rep. Byron Donalds, as they did yesterday, firebrand Congressman Matt Gaetz broke from his faction to nominate Donald Trump.
It’s a purely symbolic move from a lawmaker who all but swore to never vote for McCarthy.
Asked by DailyMail.com if he genuinely believed Trump was a good candidate for the gavel, Gaetz dryly quipped: ‘Yes, that’s why I voted for him.’
That’s despite McCarthy agreeing to several concessions that would give significantly more power to the hard-right House Freedom Caucus, multiple reports have said.
When it first came time to cast a vote, Donalds was not present in the chamber. He later returned to vote for himself.
Otherwise, the seventh-round vote played out largely like the others have. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene was seen sitting next to Gaetz, despite the two trading jabs in the days leading up to the Speaker vote over their differing opinions on McCarthy.
Despite that, however, Greene held fast to her vote for the beleaguered House GOP Leader.
The first round vote ultimately saw all 212 Democrats back their new leader, Hakeem Jeffries, while McCarthy got 201 votes.
Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert broke from her fellow GOP McCarthy critics to vote for a new Speaker candidate – Republican Study Committee Chair Rep. Kevin Hern
Firebrand GOP Reps. Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene were seen sitting next to each other, despite their public break over McCarthy’s Speakership bid
Nineteen Republicans supported Donalds. And Rep. Victoria Spartz of Indiana, who switched her vote from ‘McCarthy’ to ‘present’ on Wednesday, did so again.
Some lawmakers injected levity in the otherwise monotonous proceedings.
Democratic Rep. Jared Huffman repeated a bit he began on Wednesday in which he cast votes for his party leader, Hakeem Jeffries, in the style of a popular internet meme known as ‘Leeroy Jenkins’ which involves shouting the name in an exaggerated way.
GOP Rep.-elect Mike Lawler, casting a vote for McCarthy, noted he was proudly casting his vote from the district that is ‘home to Bill and Hillary Clinton.’ The statement got a chuckle out of the GOP leader.
The House adjourned on Wednesday evening after a raucous vote on whether to call it a night.
Just before 9pm last night, House Democrats’ new No. 3 Rep. Pete Aguilar called for individual votes to be cast after the voice vote proved inconclusive.
Four Republicans joined Democrats in trying to drag out the session for more votes – which would have likely resulted in additional losing rounds for McCarthy – but ultimately the vote fell 216 to 214 for adjournment.
For the seventh round, McCarthy was nominated by Michigan Rep-elect John James
GOP Rep. Dan Bishop of North Carolina stood to nominate Florida Rep. Byron Donalds, who the anti-McCarthy faction nominated on Wednesday
At the US Capitol ahead of the vote on Thursday, McCarthy told reporters, ‘I’m confident we will reach a solution otherwise we won’t be successful.’
The historic gridlock has paralyzed Capitol Hill; with no Speaker, the 118th House of Representatives cannot be sworn in, and new legislation cannot move to the floor or through committees – which do not have formal chairs yet.
And on Wednesday, a group of Republican military veterans held a press conference warning that the disarray was leading to significant national security vulnerabilities. Florida Rep. Michael Waltz said from the podium, ‘Authoritarian regimes all over the world are pointing to what’s going on in the House of Representatives and saying, “Look at the messiness of democracy, look at how it doesn’t work, can’t function.”‘
It’s been reported that McCarthy made some significant new concessions to his 20 detractors, including a measure that would allow one GOP lawmaker to trigger a vote for a new House Speaker, according to CNN – known as motion to vacate the chair.
In addition to the motion to vacate the chair being set at one vote, McCarthy has also reportedly promised conservatives votes on border security and term limits legislation.
He also reportedly agreed to giving more spots on the House Rules Committee to members of the hardline-right House Freedom Caucus. The powerful panel acts as a gatekeeper for any legislation that comes to the floor.
MCCARTHY OFFERS FRESH CONCESSIONS TO WIN OVER HARD-RIGHT REPUBLICANS
IN A STUNNING REVERSAL, THE GOP LEADER IS NOW OPEN TO ONCE ‘RED-LINE’ DEMANDS FROM RIGHT-WING REBELS
• ONE-MEMBER ‘MOTION TO VACATE’ THE CHAIR
In a major concession to the ultra-conservative Freedom Caucus, the California Republican has offered to lower the number of members required to sponsor a resolution to force a vote to remove the speaker – from five to one – a change that the GOP leader had previously said he would not accept.
• FREEDOM CAUCUS TO HAVE RULES COMMITTEE SEATS
McCarthy is open to allowing GOP hardliners to handpick four of the party’s members on the powerful Rules Committee – no small concession as it controls what legislation reaches the floor, as well as allowing ANY lawmaker to propose changes on spending legislation, including any that would tank the measure.
• A VOTE ON TERM LIMITS
There were also discussions of introducing legislation limiting House members to three terms and Senators to two terms. The upper chamber is currently led by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York meaning the proposal to limit the Senate is a no-go.
• REBELS TO CHAIR SUB-COMMITTEE
Several ‘Never Kevin Caucus’ members want high-profile assignments including Florida’s Matt Gaetz as chair of the House Armed Services subcommittee and Maryland’s Andy Harris as the head of the Appropriations subcommittee on Health and Human Services
• CHANGES TO APPROPRIATIONS PROCESS
The Freedom Caucus wants rule changes that would decentralize power in both the House GOP – and the rest of the chamber – to give more power to individual members. The demand that committee chairs are selected by the committee and not the leadership, and rewards fundraising and party loyalty.