House adjourns without electing a speaker after McCarthy loses sixth ballot

The House adjourned Wednesday after it failed for a sixth time to elect a speaker — continuing a feud between House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and 20 opponents within his own party.

The decision to adjourn until 8 p.m. ET Wednesday followed unsuccessful negotiation efforts from McCarthy to secure a majority of votes needed to win the speaker’s gavel. The fourth, fifth and sixth failed ballots Wednesday came hours after former President Donald Trump broke his silence on the speakership debate as he reiterated his endorsement of McCarthy.

The House failed on three votes for speaker Tuesday, then adjourned. The first two votes Tuesday included 19 votes for candidates besides McCarthy, which became 20 after Rep.-elect Byron Donalds flipped to the anti-McCarthy side in the third vote.

McCarthy’s opponents then nominated Donalds, R-Fla., for speaker Wednesday, who received the same 20 votes in the fourth ballot — successfully delaying McCarthy’s bid for speaker again. Donalds was again nominated as a candidate on the fifth and sixths ballots and received the same 20 votes.

Rep.-elect Victoria Spartz, R-Ind., who previously voted for McCarthy, voted ‘present’ in the fourth, fifth and sixth series.

‘We have a constitutional duty to elect the Speaker of the House, but we have to deliberate further as a Republican conference until we have enough votes and stop wasting everyone’s time. None of the Republican candidates have this number yet,’ Spartz said in a statement. ‘That’s why I voted present after all votes were cast.’

Now, the House will have to conduct a seventh round of votes. 

Republican debates over the speakership have turned bitter as they attempt to unify behind a leader. Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., tweeted ahead of Wednesday’s vote that he wants to ‘break up the DC Cartel’ as he continues to oppose McCarthy. Biggs’ comments appear to be a response to Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., who referred to McCarthy’s opponents Tuesday as the ‘Taliban 20.’ 

Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., muttered ‘this is bulls—‘ under her breath during a House GOP Conference meeting Tuesday regarding McCarthy’s bid for speakership.

Democratic leadership has directed its members to remain present at votes for speaker continue to ensure the majority threshold remains a challenge to Republicans. Democratic members cheered and chanted as votes continued to fail Tuesday and Wednesday.

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