House adjourns without elected speaker

On Tuesday, January 3, 2023 the 118th Congress opened in Washington DC with Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in the House Chamber. However, the proceedings quickly became chaotic as McCarthy failed to secure enough votes to win the House Speaker post in six consecutive rounds of voting, leaving all 434 House members technically still members-elect, not official voting representatives. In the following rounds of voting, a core group of 20 GOP holdouts voted for Florida Rep. Byron Donalds, denying McCarthy the 218 votes he needed to take the gavel. Democrats, on the other hand, voted for their incoming Minority Leader, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., making it the first time two Black Americans have ever been nominated for House speaker.

The lack of a speaker has caused ripple effects across Capitol Hill, including freezing a host of constituent services and leaving staffers to newly elected members unable to access their official email accounts. President Trump has endorsed McCarthy, but it remains to be seen if his support will move the needle for any of the holdouts. McCarthy and his allies have been negotiating with the holdouts, all of whom identify with the Freedom Caucus.

The House adjourned until 8:00 p.m. ET Wednesday, giving Republicans time to chart a path forward, whether that be through negotiations with the core 20 holdouts or by coalescing around a new candidate for speaker. As of yet, the outcome of this historic procedural limbo remains uncertain.


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