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Lehigh Valley Election News

Renegade Republicans stall congressional swearing-in

Kevin McCarthy, U.S. Congress 1
Alex Brandon
House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., speaks after a closed-door meeting with the GOP Conference as he pursues the speaker of the House role when the 118th Congress convenes, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023, in Washington.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. House of Representatives called it a night after three failed votes to elect a Speaker on Tuesday.

The House will restart its marathon session at noon Wednesday. A vocal minority of conservatives have so far refused to back Republican Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.

No business in the House can begun until a Speaker is elected. But with the chamber almost evenly split, the holdouts can block normal proceedings.

The renegade Republicans have backed Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, even though the outspoken firebrand has thrown his support to McCarthy.

Democrats remain united behind Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y. While he's been the top vote-getter each round, he lacks the numbers to pull out a victory.

Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Pa., said before the third vote McCarthy needed to compromise with Democrats to get the needed votes. He doubted the breakaway conservatives, including Rep. Matt Gaetz,R-Fla., would reverse course.

"They're not exactly a bunch of Nobel laureates, are they?" Cartwright said of the holdouts outside the House floor.

  • The U.S. House failed to elect a Speaker of the House on the first three ballots
  • This is the first time a second vote has happened since 1923
  • Though Republicans have the House majority, House Republicans need a majority of all representatives (including Democrats) in order to elect a Speaker

Members cannot be sworn in until a Speaker is selected. It's anyone's guess when that will occur.
McCarthy acknowledged before the first vote he faced opposition within the ranks of his own party. But he vowed not to cave and force vote after vote if necessary to come out on top.

At least 16 GOP lawmakers cast votes for renegade candidates, including Jordan and Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz.

The vote is conducted by voice tally -- it takes the clerk about an hour to poll all 435 members. It is unclear how many ballots will be needed before the House selects a Speaker.

Meanwhile, Democrats rallied behind Jeffries, D-N.Y., making him the leading vote-getter. However, the winning candidate must receive a majority of the votes.

"In unity with my Democratic colleagues — because we know how to get things done — I voted for Hakeem Jeffries," said Rep. Susan Wild, D-Lehigh Valley.

"In unity with my Democratic colleagues—because we know how to get things done—I voted for Hakeem Jeffries."
Rep. Susan Wild (D-Lehigh), one of the final members to cast a vote