In a signal of what the U.S. House of Representatives could look for like the next two years, the chamber adjourned Tuesday evening after GOP Congressman Kevin McCarthy repeatedly failed to secure the 218 votes needed to become the next speaker due to a revolt by several far-right Republicans.
During the third round of voting, the California Republican received only 202 votes. Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla). joined with the 19 other Republicans who had backed Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) in the second round, while Democrats maintained their support for Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.).
“If Americans had any doubt that the GOP is irretrievably broken, today’s House speaker debacle confirms it,” Stand Up America founder and president Sean Eldridge said in a statement after the chamber adjourned until noon Wednesday.
“Political arsonists control the House majority,” Eldridge added. “Whether they ultimately choose Kevin McCarthy or another extremist speaker of the House, the MAGA agenda will be the same: sow chaos, waste taxpayer dollars on sham investigations into President [Joe] Biden, and block progress on the pressing issues facing our nation. Unfortunately, it’s the American people who will pay the price for House Republicans’ inability to govern.”
Recalling her warning from just after the November midterms about “Republicans in ruin,” Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) took the opportunity to contrast Democratic and GOP House leadership.
Under Democrat leadership, the House passed landmark legislation in the 117th Congress to help families and working people.
One day into the 118th Congress and GOP control, Republicans can't even elect a Speaker. We're now on the third vote with no end in sight. https://t.co/BL4owbmaxd
— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) January 3, 2023
“Thinking about how Democrats have delivered for the people time and again,” Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) similarly said. “Meanwhile, Republicans can’t even deliver for themselves.”
Several other progressives in the chamber also piled on, such as Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.), who tweeted that “this is embarrassing for McCarthy, and yet another display of Republican dysfunction.”
“Based on what is going on today, their ability to govern and pass legislation on their own, I think is tenuous at best,” Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) told Politico. “When you bend everything to an ideological position, as opposed to the work of Congress, this is what you end up with.”
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) quipped that “Republicans want to run the country. They can’t even figure out who they want to run their party.”
Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) tied Tuesday’s events to the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol, taking aim at ex-President Donald Trump and Steve Bannon, his former White House chief strategist.