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House at standstill, speaker vote to continue Wednesday 

(NewsNation) — For the first time in 100 years, the majority party failed to elect a new speaker of the House. Lawmakers will reconvene at noon on Wednesday in an attempt to fill the position as the House will not be able to move forward until someone is elected.

Lawmakers moved through three rounds of voting Tuesday without coming to an agreement. A total of 218 votes of support out of the 434 House members are needed for a member to become speaker.

Republicans have not reached a consensus about who will lead their majority, paralyzing the vote for House speaker and the chance for Republicans to move forward.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) failed to get the 218 votes required to become speaker, with 20 of his fellow Republicans voting against him — including some of the chamber’s most conservative members.

In the last vote before the House adjourned Tuesday, McCarthy received 202 votes, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) got 212 and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) collected 20 votes from representatives who don’t want to see former minority leader McCarthy slip into the position.

McCarthy refused to accept a final offer from the Freedom Caucus, saying he had gone far enough to appease the lawmakers.

“For the last two months, we worked together as a whole conference to develop rules that empower all members, but we’re not empowering certain members over others,” McCarthy told reporters early Tuesday.

Some GOP lawmakers are frustrated with the infighting, while others want to take their time with the decision.

Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) spoke with NewsNation’s Joe Khalil, telling him that House Republicans, including himself, want to see a “far more deliberative process so we can handle the business in an appropriate fashion for the American people.”

At least five Republicans don’t want to give McCarthy a clear path to the speakership. Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.), Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.)  and Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.) led a “Never Kevin” campaign.

Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) tweeted a statement Tuesday, putting McCarthy on blast just hours before the House speaker vote.

“It’s never the wrong time to do the right thing,” he wrote in his tweet. The statement listed out what the lawmakers against McCarthy have been asking for, including promised votes on “a balanced budget, the Fair Tax Act, the Texas Border Plan and term limits for members of Congress.”

Perry said in the statement that McCarthy refused to agree.

“Kevin McCarthy has an opportunity to be speaker of the House. He rejected it,” Perry concluded his statement.

Sources told Khalil that McCarthy and his allies are committed to sticking with him and they will vote 100 times if they have to until enough of those 20 detractors come around to McCarthy.

Swearing in members, naming committee chairs, engaging in floor proceedings and launching oversight investigations will all be delayed until a speaker is elected and sworn into office.

“The spotlight needs to be put on these 19 — now 20 — that are stopping the business of Congress that we got elected to do,” Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) said. “It’s on them.”

McCarthy would need 16 of those 20 who voted against him to change their vote. But, it remains unclear if and when McCarthy passes the threshold to become the next speaker of the House.

Once the House is in a quorum on Wednesday — meaning the minimum number of members are present to proceed — the speaker nominee from each party will be read aloud by the respective leaders before a roll-call vote to elect a new speaker.

On Tuesday, Republicans opposing McCarthy nominated a slew of other candidates, including Biggs, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and even former Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y).

“I rise to nominate the most talented, hardest-working member of the Republican conference, who just gave a speech with more vision that we have ever heard from the alternative,” Gaetz said Tuesday while nominating Jordan.

To be sure, none of them reached a majority of the votes, but it was enough to detract support from McCarthy, who in a 222-213 majority can’t afford to lose more than a handful of votes.

The candidate to become speaker needs a majority of the votes from House members who are present and voting. Every lawmaker voting “present” lowers the overall tally needed to reach a majority.

Should McCarthy come up short again on Wednesday, the clerk will repeat the roll call vote until he is able to garner a majority or a motion to adjourn is approved.

“This is Washington, we go through this from time to time. It’s unfortunate we’re doing it here, but we’re going to figure it out and elect a Speaker,” Donalds said. “I fully anticipate we’re going to have a speaker by the time we finish our business on Thursday.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

  • House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif., is followed by reporters as he heads to the House Floor on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
  • Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., left, talks with Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., and Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., after the first round of voting for House Speaker during opening day of the 118th Congress at the U.S. Capitol, Tuesday, Jan 3, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
  • Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., listens as votes are cast for the next Speaker of the House on the opening day of the 118th Congress at the U.S. Capitol, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023, in Washington.(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
  • Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., nominates Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., for the third round of votes for Speaker of the House on the opening day of the 118th Congress at the U.S. Capitol, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023, in Washington.(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)