Republicans should elect McCarthy as speaker of the House of Representatives

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Of: Andrew Apetz, Helen Gries, Jana Ballweber

The Republicans initially do not elect Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House of Representatives – and in doing so they embarrass him. Now Donald Trump is getting involved.

+++ 3 p.m.: For Kevin McCarthy, there was nothing to smile about at the inaugural session of Congress. He failed three times in the election for the presidency of the House of Representatives on Tuesday (January 3) and was embarrassed on the open stage. Even more MPs refused to support the group leader than had initially been speculated.

The debacle also brought Donald Trump onto the scene. The former president has urged Republicans to finally vote for Kevin McCarthy now. “Republicans, don’t turn a great triumph into a huge and embarrassing defeat,” Trump wrote in a post on Truth Social this morning. McCarthy will do a good job and maybe even a great job. “Now is the time for all of our great Republicans to vote for Kevin.”

Donald Trump rushes to the aid of Kevin McCarthy (left) in the election for Speaker of the US House of Representatives. © Richard Graulich/Palm Beach Post via ZUMA Wire/dpa/Archive

+++ 1.15 p.m.: After McCarthy failed in the first three ballots and there is little hope of an agreement in the coming ballots, the question of further strategy arises. Because if the House of Representatives cannot agree on a speaker, it simply has to keep voting and is unable to act in the meantime.

A look at history shows: The USA could threaten a long period of chaos and stagnation. In 1923, nine ballots were required before a candidate could achieve a majority. In the 19th century it took two months and 133 ballots before a speaker could be appointed.

Democrats in the House of Representatives are amused by the chaos surrounding Republican McCarthy

+++ 8.30 a.m.: The Democrats in the US House of Representatives like Alexandria Ocasio Cortez were in high spirits. The Republicans were also unable to agree on a speaker in three rounds of voting. For Kevin McCarthy, an embarrassment the likes of which the United States Congress hasn’t seen in over 100 years.

Even if Kevin McCarthy does not want to give up and wants to stand again for election as speaker of the US House of Representatives after three failed attempts on Wednesday, the alternatives are already forming behind the Republican. These include the following politicians:

Kevin McCarthy fails in the US House of Representatives: Possible alternatives

  • Steve Scalise: The Republican represents a district in the US state of Louisiana. He is considered a confidant of Kevin McCarthy, which makes his election chances look rather poor.
  • Jim Jordan: The Republican from the US state of Ohio has been one of the leading conservative figures in Congress for years. He, too, has meanwhile sided with Kevin McCarthy, but has not ruled out his own ambitions for the role of leader.
  • Patrick McHenry: The congressman from North Carolina is an outsider among the Republicans and has himself expressed on several occasions that he has no interest in the speaker’s role. But he could be useful as a kind of emergency hook for the party.

Update from January 4, 6:20 a.m.: After several unsuccessful rounds of voting, the US House of Representatives will continue voting on the most powerful post in the American Parliament this Wednesday. Earlier, Republican Kevin McCarthy failed to get the required majority in the election to the House of Representatives three times. For the 57-year-old, this is a historic defeat and public exposure. It was now completely open how McCarthy would secure the missing votes in the hours leading up to the next vote on Wednesday afternoon (local time/6:00 p.m. CET). At the same time, names of alternative candidates for the post were already circulating.

It is also unclear whether the members of parliament who have so far been loyal to McCarthy will continue to do so. McCarthy had been combative just before the session and said: “I hold the record for the longest speech in the plenary session.” He has no problem setting a record for the most ballots in a vote for the presidency in the House of Representatives. Until the presidency is clarified, nothing works: the Congress Chamber cannot start its work, not even the new MPs can be sworn in.

Defeat in Congress: Republicans rebel against McCarthy on the open stage

+++ 11 p.m.: In the relentless power struggle of the Republicans for the presidency of the US House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy suffered a defeat in the third ballot. Again, several party colleagues refused to support him and instead voted for Republican Congressman Jim Jordan.

Historic defeat in Congress: McCarthy also loses in the second ballot

+++ 9.25 p.m.: The second round of voting – which has not happened for a century – ends in a bitter defeat for McCarthy. House Secretary Cheryl Johnson will announce the official vote count shortly. According to The Guardians can be attributed to Democrat Hakeem Jeffries 212 votes, McCarthy 203 votes – the same weak number as in the first round – and Republican Jim Jordan 19 votes.

Sensation in Congress: McCarthy loses first ballot

+++ 8.15 p.m.: It’s a historic defeat for Republican Kevin McCarthy. In the first attempt, the Republican faction leader could not achieve a majority to be elected speaker of the US House of Representatives. The last time it happened was a hundred years ago that the vote for the powerful office required more than one ballot and a parliamentary group refused to support its candidate in the first round.

The post of Speaker of the House of Representatives is the third most senior post in the United States, after the President and Vice President. Democrat Nancy Pelosi took office last year. Several party colleagues had already announced in advance that they would refuse McCarthy their vote. But the failed one showed himself combative even before the result of the first ballot. “I hold the record for the longest speech in plenary,” he said, adding that he had no problem setting a record for the most ballots in a House of Representatives vote.

The final result of the first ballot is as follows: 212 votes for Hakeem Jeffries (Democrat), 203 votes for Kevin McCarthy (Republican), 10 votes for Andy Biggs (Republican) and 9 votes for other candidates.

McCarthy gets backing: Greene agitates against party colleagues

+++ 7.40 p.m.: The Republican faction leader, Kevin McCarthy, has now received backing from the controversial right-wing MP Marjorie Taylor Greene in the struggle for his presidency in the US House of Representatives. In a conversation with reporters in the Capitol, Greene lashed out at her colleagues. She named several politicians who would want to harm McCarthy. “They’re proving to the country that they don’t care about doing what’s right for America… they’re just destroyers. That’s why Republicans fail, and I’m really sick of it,” Greene told the news service Mediate quoted.

Mentioned by name were politicians Matt Gaetz, Lauren Boebert, Chip Roy, Bob Good and Scott Perry. According to Greene, Representatives “just don’t like McCarthy” and were asking for important committee positions in exchange for their vote. In this context, the right-wing extremist politician did not leave a good hair on her colleagues and criticized them, among other things, for having accepted millions of dollars in support from McCarthy in the past and now opposing him. In addition, in the past, Republican Scott Perry would have opposed the party agenda on important decisions, such as the ban on gay marriage, and advocated the possibility of same-sex marriage.

Greene repeatedly emphasized that she herself had not made any demands on McCarthy: “I’m the only Republican who doesn’t have any committees. So you’d think I’d be the one asking for something there. But I didn’t do that.” McCarthy needs 218 votes to be elected to the presidency of the House of Representatives. The Republicans are represented with a total of 222 votes.

First meeting in US Congress could become election crime – uprising against McCarthy

First report from Tuesday, January 3rd: Washington – After the Midterms it’s coming in November US Congress on Tuesday (January 3rd) together for the first time in a new constellation. An unusual election thriller about the most powerful post in the American Parliament is imminent.

Republicans take control of the House of Representatives. in the senatethe second chamber of parliament, the Democrats have from President Joe Biden still a slim majority. The start of the new legislative period is overshadowed by a Republican power struggle for leadership House of Representatives.

Election thriller in the US Congress: Kevin McCarthy wants to chair the chamber

Of the Party leader Kevin McCarthy, wants to be elected chairman of the chamber. The post that in recent years the Democrat Nancy Pelosi occupies third place in the national hierarchy after the president and his vice president. Several Party colleagues, however, rebelled against McCarthy – and in view of a narrow majority of the Republicans, he had great difficulty to secure enough votes in his own ranks for the election. The rebellion against him could delay the usual procedure or possibly throw it into chaos.

The Republican faction in the House of Representatives, like the entire party, is torn between right-wing supporters of the ex-president donald trump and more moderate party members. Faced with a slim majority, McCarthy must unite the various wings behind him and win over members even from the very fringes of his faction. However, five Republicans have publicly announced that they will not vote for McCarthy. Others also showed resistance. But given the majority, McCarthy can hardly afford to dissent.

Election thriller in the US Congress: A majority of 218 votes is required for the presidency of the chamber

The election to the chair of the House of Representatives is the first major item on the agenda of the inaugural session. Until the presidency is clarified, nothing works: the Chamber of Congress cannot start its work, it is not even possible for the new MPs to be sworn in.

In the simplest scenario, a majority of 218 votes is required for the election to the chair of the chamber – if all 434 newly elected parliamentarians are present and vote for a candidate. Should some of them abstain, the necessary majority would be correspondingly smaller. If McCarthy were to fail the first ballot and further ballots were necessary, it would be a minor sensation. (hg/dpa)

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