It’s Groundhog Day on Capitol Hill, as House Republicans failed — miserably — for a second day on Wednesday when they tried to impeach Rep. Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House in what appears to be political chaos at the start of the new majority.
For the sixth time, mainstream Republicans nominated McCarthy as their speaker as the House spiraled deeper.
The House relented at noon, and a McCarthy ally quickly re-nominated him for the job with a rousing speech designed to shake off opponents.
“Sure, it looks messy,” said Representative Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin. But democracy is messy, he said. “The American people are in charge.”
But at this point, no one seems to be in charge except GOP hardliners who are steadily increasing the California Republican’s chances of becoming the 118th Speaker.
DailyMail.com answers six key questions about the race for Speaker – which seems to have no end in sight.
WHY DON’T THE HOUSE PLEASANTLY SPEAK A NEW SPEAKER?
Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the House GOP leader, perhaps in name only, needs 218 votes in the full House.
However, a consortium of 19 ultra-conservative Republicans – calling themselves the “Never Kevin Caucus” – has warned the California Republican that he did not have the votes.
Two days and five speaker votes later, the House is no closer to a speaker than Tuesday.
House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California has lost several votes for the House Speaker since Tuesday
WHAT DOES THE ‘NEVER KEVIN CAUCUS’ WANT?
Members of the ultraconservative Freedom Caucus, including Representatives Andy Biggs of Arizona, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Matt Gaetz of Florida, Chip Roy of Texas and others presented McCarthy with their latest offer on Monday, including demands for high-profile commission orders and significant budgets to investigate the Biden administration in exchange for their votes.
McCarthy refused to oblige, saying he had gone far enough to appease lawmakers.
Based on the past five votes, the NKs now seem to just want him gone – in short, everyone BUT McCarthy.
US Representative-elect Lauren Boebert of Colorado wants former President Donald Trump to withdraw his support for McCarthy.
WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR THE UNDERROOM?
Simply put, the House cannot function without a speaker. It needs a leader to swear in 75 new members, assign committee chairs, decide on course of action, and initiate oversight investigations. Everything will be postponed until a speaker is elected and sworn in.
“The spotlight needs to be focused on these 19 — now 20 — who are stopping the business of Congress we’ve been elected to,” said Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb. “It’s up to them.”
Rep. Elect George Santos of New York (right) talks with Rep. Elect Matt Gaetz (R-FL) (L) in the House Chamber during the second day of the election for Speaker of the House at the U.S. Capitol Building in January 04, 2023 in Washington, DC.
WHAT ARE MCCARTHY’S POSSIBILITIES?
The beleaguered GOP leader has two options: continue to “fight the floor” or step down.
McCarthy supporters, who represent the majority of the vote, vow to vote for him.
New York Representative Michael Lawler says he supports Kevin McCarthy “whether it’s the first vote, the second vote, the third vote or the hundredth vote” during an interview on Meet the Press.
However, opponents of McCarthy want him to end the battle for control of the House and are enlisting the former president’s help.
Rep. Lauren Boebert, a conservative conservative from Colorado, nominated Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., the day’s elected protest candidate — and called on former President Donald Trump, the hero of the conservatives, to tell McCarthy, “Sir, you don’t have the votes and it’s time to retire.’
WHAT HAPPENS NOW?
To date, a solution seems out of reach for all parties, and it has been a century since it last happened. It remains unclear if or when McCarthy crosses the threshold of becoming the next speaker of the House. The current number of Republicans who have pledged support to other candidates stands at 20, and some suspect that list will grow.
On Tuesday, Republicans opposed to McCarthy nominated a slew of other candidates, including Biggs, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio and even former Rep. Lee Zeldin of New York. And on Wednesday, the first black Republican was nominated for the role, Representative Byron Donalds of Florida.
The candidate to become speaker needs a majority of the MPs present and voting. Any legislator who votes “present” decreases the total number needed to reach a majority, but that’s not a winning solution.
Rep. Byron Donalds of Florida was nominated three times as House Speaker on Wednesday as an alternative to McCarthy.
HAS THIS HAPPENED BEFORE?
The last time the House did not choose a speaker on the first ballot was in 1923, when the election covered nine ballots.
At the time, the Republicans had won the majority despite losing a whopping 77 seats, narrowing their margin over the Democrats from 171 to just 18. The majority party had defeated incumbent Rep. Frederick Gillett, called R-Mass. but several other candidates, including a Democrat, received votes at roll call.
This resulted in a series of ballots over three days before House Majority Leader Nicholas Longworth, R-Ohio, held an emergency meeting with the opponents. Their concern, like the one against McCarthy, was about a series of rule changes that they believed deserved due process. Longworth agreed, and the next day Gillett got the 215 votes he needed to remain speaker.
Members talk in the House Chamber as the House meets for its second day to elect a speaker and convene the 118th Congress in Washington, Wednesday, January 4, 2023.