Dhe Republican Kevin McCarthy lost the first round of voting to become speaker of the House of Representatives. Nineteen Republican lawmakers did not vote for their leader at the chamber’s first session on Tuesday, including those who had previously refused to support McCarthy before the vote.
Despite the thin Republican majority in the House of Representatives, his Democratic opponent, New York MP Hakeem Jeffries, received more votes than McCarthy. The fact that six Republicans speak out for the necessary majority of 218 votes for him is considered impossible.
Republicans deeply divided
The fact that the majority faction cannot agree on a speaker is historical. For the last time in 1923, nine ballots were required before a speaker was chosen. If a candidate does not receive the required majority, the vote by calling the names is repeated until a speaker is elected. McCarthy defeated Andy Biggs by 188 votes in the group’s internal election for chairman in November, but the 31 votes against suggested a difficult vote in the new Congress.
For weeks, McCarthy has been trying to persuade the faction’s rebellious right flank to vote for him by making concessions. The dispute exposes the deep divisions in the Republican party. Among those who did not vote for McCarthy on Tuesday were Congressmen like Matt Gaetz of Florida, who had already announced he would. Others were not previously known to turn against the faction leader.
In nominating Jeffries, California Rep. Pete Aguilar said, alluding to the dispute within the Republican Party, “House Democrats are united.” Jeffries does not sympathize with extremists and “does not crawl before or make excuses for a so-called president.” with two impeachments. It is the first time in history that a Latino has proposed a black man for this post.