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Biden Calls Speaker Drama 'Embarrassing' as House Adjourns

President Joe Biden speaks to members of the media before boarding Air Force One at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in Hebron, Jan. 4, 2023.

President Joe Biden has called rival Republicans' tussle to select a speaker "embarrassing" as the U.S. House of Representatives adjourned until 8 p.m. Wednesday.

So far, the House has held six votes on Capitol Hill in an attempt to select a speaker. House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy of California has failed to win since voting began Tuesday.

"I just think it's a little embarrassing it's taken so long in the way they're dealing with one another," Biden told reporters before a trip to Kentucky.

"The rest of the world is looking. They're looking at — you know — can we get our act together."

A nominee needs 218 votes to win speaker leadership. McCarthy has fallen short of the required votes coming in at 201 in the last tally. A faction of around 20 renegade Republicans denied the congressman a majority.

Republicans narrowly won a House majority in the November midterm elections after Democrats fared better than expected, avoiding a "red wave" as some had predicted.

But the Republican party has been torn by divisions with its hard-right flank.

It's the first time in 100 years that the House has not elected a speaker on the first ballot. And it is still uncertain when a leader will emerge.

An empty speaker seat means no legislative work can be carried out, such as the passage of bills or its primary oversight role, with hundreds of members still not sworn in.