The chaos on capitol hill continues for a fourth day today as the Republican party remains at war over who to elect as the next speaker of the house of representatives.
Yesterday, Kevin McCarthy failed to secure enough votes during multiple roll call votes this week, prompting congress to adjourn three times for negotiations. In total, the house voted eleven times so far, and with each round McCarthy continued to lose votes.
You would think the speaker of the house would have to come from a representative in the house, but the constitution is a little unclear. It mealy states that a speaker of the house candidate “must be nominated by a sitting member of congress” and they must be elected by a majority of the five hundred and thirty-five lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. A speaker can be elected by a minimum of 218 votes if all representatives vote. However, that number can drop if some members vote “present” or choose not to vote.
McCarthy has resisted calls to withdraw his nomination.
Instead, he’s trying to compromise with the holdouts in his party to break the deadlock. At least that is what he says. He has reportedly offered rules changes that could weaken the influence of the speakership as well as his hold on the position and that would empower rekindle members. The last time a speaker election required two or more votes on the floor happened in 1923 exactly 100 years ago.
However, its been 164 years since electing a new speaker has taken this long.