Nearly a third day has passed and the US Congress remains undecided on a speaker of the House, making Republican Kevin McCarthy’s now seventh-round loss for votes even more concerning.
Republicans remain unable to agree on the necessary votes to elect McCarthy or any other candidate. Democrats, on the other hand, have unanimously voted on New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries. As Vox’s Ben Jacobs shares, there are four ways to settle the current stymied situation: McCarthy makes a concession or concedes, the stalemate continues, or Republicans and Democrats decide on a “unity candidate” — the last of which seems far from probable.
This is the first time in 100 years that Congress has required more than one ballot to elect a speaker. With McCarthy now losing his seventh ballot, more substantial issues could persist.
“The speakership chaos could well presage a catastrophic collapse of American governance over the debt ceiling and funding issues this year — or at least a very tense situation until a deal can be worked out,” writes Vox’s Andrew Prokop.
Thursday evening, McCarthy offered concessions that seem promising, but it’s unclear whether the Republicans who held their votes are genuinely considering any alternatives.
In an effort to gain influence on legislation and weaken the office of the speaker, a small group of far-right GOP House members are putting a wrench in their party’s ability to complete its first task as the newly GOP-led House.