Updated Jan 4, 2023 - Politics & Policy

House adjourns after anti-McCarthy mutiny paralyzes House speaker vote

Photo: Mandel NGAN via Getty Images

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy lost his bid for the speakership on the first round of voting Tuesday — and shortly thereafter, he lost a second ballot and a third.

Why it matters: Ballots will continue until someone gets a majority of votes — but it's unclear how long that will take. The House can't start regular business until a speaker is elected.

State of play: Lawmakers decided to adjourn until noon Wednesday after hitting a stalemate.

  • Members of the 118th Congress can't be sworn in, the House can't set rules to govern itself, and it can't consider legislation or create committee assignments.
  • McCarthy told reporters on Tuesday night he plans to stay in the speakership race and has the backing of former President Donald Trump.
  • The Californian Republican believes he can win the role if he doesn't 218 votes, a majority of the House, if some Congress members are absent or vote "present."
  • "Democrats have 212 votes; you get 213 votes, and the others don't say another name," he said. "That's how you can win."

Flashback: It took two months — and 133 ballots — for the House to elect its speaker in 1856.

The big picture: On the first two ballots, the same 19 Republicans blocked McCarthy by voting for other candidates. On the second ballot, they all voted for Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio). On the third, the tally grew to 20 Republicans voting for Jordan.

  • All Democrats voted for Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) — the first Black person nominated to lead either chamber of Congress — on every ballot.

The 20 House Republicans who voted at some point against McCarthy:

  • Andy Biggs (R-Az.)
  • Dan Bishop (R-N.C.)
  • Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.)
  • Josh Brecheen (R-Okla.)
  • Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.)
  • Eli Crane (R-Ariz.)
  • Michael Cloud (R-Texas)
  • Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.)
  • Bob Good (R-Va.)
  • Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.)
  • Andy Harris (R-Md.)
  • Mary Miller (R-Ill.)
  • Ralph Norman (R-S.C.)
  • Andy Ogles (R-Tenn.)
  • Anna Paulina Luna (R-Fla.)
  • Scott Perry (R-Pa.)
  • Matt Rosendale (R-Mt.)
  • Chip Roy (R-Texas)
  • Keith Self (R-Texas)
  • Byron Donalds (R-Fl.)

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional developments.

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