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A House Divided: GOP Speaker Stalemate Persists, McCarthy Loses More Votes

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CAPITOL HILL – There's been a third day of deadlock in the U.S. House after an eleventh straight failure to secure the next Speaker of the House. 

Republican leader Kevin McCarthy was still not able to reach the 218 votes needed to assume the role with 20 GOP holdouts standing in firm opposition to his bid. 

The last time the balloting for speaker took this many tries was before the Civil War.

In spite of the insufficient vote tallies over the last two days, McCarthy insists he's making progress. He's given significant concessions to the 20 conservatives blocking his path. Those reportedly include: 

  • a rule change allowing any single House member to call for a vote to change speakers; 
  • putting more members of the Freedom Caucus on the House Rules Committee;
  • and guarantees that the House will vote on border security and term limits for representatives.

Still, the Republican leader faces the same hold-outs as he did on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. A small core of conservatives isn't budging, saying they won't vote for McCarthy no matter what. “I’m ready to vote all night, all week, all month, and never for that person,” said Florida Republican Matt Gaetz. Instead, Gaetz has been voting for Donald Trump for the post.

The impasse is growing increasingly frustrating for McCarthy supporters. Rep. Derrick Van Orden (R-WI) said, "If 20 people are able to drive this train however they want to, 202 of us might as well go home."

Democrats, meanwhile, are taunting Republicans, calling on them to get on the same page so Congress can get to work.

Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA) said, "House Republicans are in historic turmoil, unable to organize, unable to govern, unable to lead."

Taking to the House floor this afternoon to nominate McCarthy, freshman Rep. John James from Michigan pointed out that in 1856 it took the House much longer to agree on a Speaker -- 133 votes over a two-month period. At that point, they were dealing with divisive issues like slavery.

It remains unclear how long it will take this current Congress to get going.

The House is scheduled to reconvene at 12:00 pm Eastern Friday. 

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About The Author

Caitlin Burke Headshot

Caitlin Burke serves as National Security Correspondent and a general assignment reporter for CBN News. She has also hosted the CBN News original podcast, The Daily Rundown. Some of Caitlin’s recent stories have focused on the national security threat posed by China, America’s military strength, and vulnerabilities in the U.S. power grid. She joined CBN News in July 2010, and over the course of her career, she has had the opportunity to cover stories both domestically and abroad. Caitlin began her news career working as a production assistant in Richmond, Virginia, for the NBC affiliate WWBT