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House Adjourns After McCarthy's 3rd Speaker Vote Defeat

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Unable to elect Republican leader Kevin McCarthy as the new House speaker Tuesday, Republicans adjourned for the day in disarray as the party tries to regroup from his historic defeat after a long, messy start for the new Congress.

Needing 218 votes in the full House, McCarthy got just 203 in two rounds — less even than Democrat Hakeem Jeffries in the GOP-controlled chamber.

 A third ballot was even worse, with the California representative losing 20 votes as night fell on the new House GOP majority, tensions rising as all other business came to a halt.

The House agreed to return at noon Wednesday. 

The historic defeat sent the chamber into a first-day tumult as conservative colleagues opposed McCarthy's leadership. At least eight lawmakers rallied around U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan during the second round of voting, even though Jordan asked them to support McCarthy.

The battle over who will be the Speaker of the House in the 118th Congress could end up ultimately shaping what the two chambers can get done. 

McCarthy has been trying to address the concerns of his own party as some have called for new leadership. 

U.S. Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) formally announced his candidacy for speaker. Other hardliners like U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) recently backed Biggs. 

"I wish that every single person held the views that you and I have about the need to transform Congress, but sometimes you have to make even members of your own team a little uncomfortable," said Rep. Gaetz on his 'Firebrand' podcast while interviewing Biggs.

It's important because McCarthy has been laying the groundwork for years for an ambitious Republican House agenda focusing on investigations into a variety of Biden administration issues. 

Those include the business deals of the president's son Hunter Biden, COVID-19 origins, as well as a committee focusing on the competition with China.

Another renewed interest will be the focus on America's southern border. House Republicans unveiled sweeping proposals before the holiday break.

Some of this agenda could hinge on whether or not McCarthy gets the votes to become House speaker. There's also an issue of how much he'll work with GOP senators. 

Congress already passed a bloated $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill with the help of 18 Republican senators joining Democrats to pass the bill. 

Before the vote, McCarthy had warned GOP senators that their bills would be "dead on arrival" in the House if they voted for the spending plan. 

The speaker vote hadn't gone past the first round of voting in the House since 1923. 

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About The Author


Matt Galka serves as a Capitol Hill Correspondent and Senior Washington Correspondent for CBN News. He joined CBN in March of 2022 after most recently reporting in Phoenix, AZ. In Phoenix, Matt covered multiple stories that had national implications, including reports on the southern border and in-depth coverage of Arizona's election audit. Before Phoenix, Matt was in Tallahassee, FL, reporting on state government at the Florida Capitol and serving as a general assignment reporter. Matt's stories in Arizona earned him multiple Emmy awards and nominations. The Florida Associated Press