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McCarthy dealt historic 11th defeat in bid to become US House Speaker

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Jan 06, 2023 - 07:20 AM

WASHINGTON (AA) – Republican leader Kevin McCarthy failed for an 11th time Thursday in his bid to become the next Speaker of the House of Representatives amid undeterred Republican opposition, the first time that milestone has been reached since the US Civil War in the mid-1800’s.

A 12th vote is possible today as Republicans show no sign of relenting.

The impasse is due to significant opposition among McCarthy’s fellow Republicans to him becoming the next House speaker, and they have not relented despite concessions from the senior Republican and appeals from former President Donald Trump.

McCarthy faces a defiant wing of more than five times the number of Republicans he can afford to lose if he is to secure a majority in the 435-member House.

He lost yet another vote Thursday, drawing support from just 200 Republicans in the 11th round after Representative Ken Buck, who previously supported McCarthy, did not vote in the ninth, 10th and 11th attempts.

Representative Hakeem Jeffries continued to gain the support of all of the chamber’s 212 Democrats in stark contrast to the mayhem across the aisle.

The decision of McCarthy’s fellow Republicans to continue their opposition came after multiple media reports suggested McCarthy caved to several of their demands that he previously balked at, including a new rule that would allow a single House member to force a vote on removing the speaker.

As with the previous two days of votes, Thursday began with one of McCarthy’s supporters appealing for the rank-and-file to line up behind him, with Representative-elect John James urging fellow Republicans to unite.

“We’re stuck in a malaise, at an impasse. We will stay here, we will not be able to fight the real conservative fights until we find a way to come together,” he said.

“We need to learn how to take a victory like Kevin McCarthy’s leadership. He’s given us victories on rules. He’s given us victories on keeping costs down. He’s given us victories on winning the majority back. I’m so proud to be a part of a majority-making class, and he’s earned my trust,” he added.

Nominating Byron Donalds, whom McCarthy’s dissenters have largely lined up behind, Representative Andy Biggs said that November’s midterm election showed lawmakers “that the American public wanted a change,” maintaining Republican opposition to their leader is “not dysfunction. And it’s not imperiling.”

“I think it’s incredibly healthy, actually, for the American people to see that we’re on the floor,” he said.

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