Accessibility links

Breaking News

13 Votes but No US House Speaker


FILE: The chair of the Speaker of the House sits empty for a third straight day as members of the House gather for another expected round of voting for a new Speaker on the third day of the 118th Congress at the U.S. Capitol in Washington. Taken January 5, 2023.

UPDATE: Republican Kevin McCarthy's quest to become Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives failed again Friday in the 13th round of voting, with conservative GOP holdouts continuing to keep the California lawmaker from taking the Gavel in a show of Congressional dysfunction not seen since before the U.S. Civil War. The House will resume voting at 10 p.m.

U.S. House of Representative elected officials convened again Friday to try to finalize who will be Speaker of the House.

In Friday's first show of hands, Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) failed again to reach 218 votes and the Speaker's gavel.

The mood has echoes of the 1993 movie "Groundhog Day," in which a hapless weatherman played by actor Bill Murray becomes trapped in a time loop, reliving the same day over and over again.

The vast majority of Republicans want to put an end to the revolt, and most were overcome with impatience with the outcome still anything but certain.

But sitting towards the back under a clock that seems to mock the lawmakers' progress, a group of some 20 Republican rebels who are responsible for the stalled vote has gathered for days.

The California Republican faces a party rift between an overwhelming majority of House Republicans who support him and, at one point, 20 hardline conservatives who continue to oppose him, even after McCarthy offered to curb his own clout.

The holdouts want a deal that would make it easier to oust the speaker and give them greater influence within the House Republican caucus and on congressional committees.

Meanwhile, McCarthy told reporters "We've got some progress going on. We've got members talking. I think we've got a little movement, so we'll see."

This week's failed votes marked the highest number of ballots for the speakership since the late 1850s. But McCarthy rejected a suggestion it meant he would be a weak leader if he succeeded. "Apparently, I like to make history," he joked.

Among Democrats, the goal has always been to use this moment to highlight Republican division.

Members of the party are voting for their leader, Hakeem Jeffries, as speaker. But without a majority in the Republican-controlled House, there is no hope.

This report was compiled with data from Reuters and Agence France-Presse.