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McCarthy fails to secure US House speakership for 5th time as support dips

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Jan 05, 2023 - 08:38 AM

WASHINGTON (AA) – Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy’s fifth attempt to secure the Speaker’s gavel again failed to bear fruit Wednesday amid public infighting within his caucus that saw him lose the support of another Republican.

As with Tuesday’s marathon voting, 20 dissident Republicans voted against McCarthy in both rounds Wednesday, throwing their weight behind a rival Republican.

This time it was incoming Texas Representative-elect Byron Donalds whom the rebels selected. Unlike Representative Jim Jordan, whom McCarthy’s opponents first selected, Donalds embraced the nomination, voting for himself.

Formally nominating Donalds, Texas Representative Chip Roy said the incoming lawmaker is reflective of change needed by the country, and by inference, not offered by McCarthy.

“There’s an important reason for nominating Byron, and that is this country needs a change. This country needs leadership, that does not reflect this city. This town that is badly broken,” said Roy.

“We’re not at the place where we need to be to guarantee that we’re going to be able to stand up in the face of the swamp that continues to step over the American people on a daily basis and spend money we don’t have,” he added.

A sixth round is now in the offing

McCarthy’s tallies in both of Wednesday’s rounds stood at 201 votes during the fourth round of voting, one fewer than Tuesday’s final tally after Indiana Representative-elect Victoria Spartz chose to vote present. That is effectively a vote against McCarthy.

Additional, Republicans are now expected to drop their support of McCarthy.

The need for multiple ballots to select a speaker is the first time in 100 years that repeated rounds have been needed.

The very public Republican row was in stark contrast to the uniform support within Democrats for Representative Hakeem Jeffries to assume the speakership. In all, 212 Democrats supported Jeffries, but he is not expected to win the gavel due to a lack of support from Republicans that could get him to cross the 218-vote threshold.

The steadfast opposition from McCarthy’s detractors came in defiance of an appeal from former President Donald Trump to halt their opposition and back the Republican leader.

Those opposed to McCarthy are largely aligned with Trump’s Make America Great Again movement, but have shown that their resistance to the Republican leader goes beyond Trump’s entreaties, at least for now.

“Even having my favorite president call us and tell us we need to knock this off, I think it actually needs to be reversed,” said Representative Lauren Boebert, who nominated Donalds in the fifth round. “The president needs to tell Kevin McCarthy that, ‘Sir, you do not have the votes and it’s time to withdraw.'”

Additional Republican defectors are now expected

McCarthy can afford to lose just four members of his caucus if he is to secure enough votes to claim a majority in the 435-member chamber.​​​​​​​

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