The U.S. House of Representatives adjourned after failing to elect a new speaker for the 11th time.
Republican leader Kevin McCarthy has failed to secure the 218 votes needed to win in each round, and the House will now go to a 12th ballot at noon Friday.
The loss means the race is now tied for the fifth-longest Speaker election process in history – which took place more than 200 years ago in 1821.
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Republicans took control of the House of Representatives after the midterm elections, with a narrow majority of 222 to 212.
However, the stalemate over the vote for a new speaker exposed divisions within the party in a routine vote that usually takes place at the start of the legislative session.
At least 200 Republicans backed Mr McCarthy in every vote this week, and while fewer than 10 percent of Republican lawmakers voted against it, that was enough to keep him out of the race to succeed Nancy Pelosi as speaker. 218 votes needed.
As 20 hardliners continued to refuse to back him, Mr McCarthy failed to secure the support he needed to be elected speaker.
House sits for eight hours for results
Thursday’s session lasted eight uninterrupted hours and included speeches from Republican House members. Florida’s Matt Gates nominated former President Donald Trump, who is no longer a member of the House of Representatives, in a symbolic but poignant sign of a wide divide within the party.
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Mr. McCarthy has been the Republican leader of the House of Representatives since 2019 and led his party to successfully win control of the House of Representatives in the 2022 midterm elections.
He has the support of Mr. Trump but is facing increasing pressure from both Republicans and Democrats to secure votes so the House can resume functioning.
key question mccarthy won’t budge
To win support, Mr. McCarthy has agreed to many of his opponent’s demands, but has refused to implement one key demand, which is to restore a rule allowing a lawmaker to seek a motion to cede the chairman.
That essentially allows lawmakers to ask the House to vote to remove the speaker.
Among Mr. McCarthy’s leading opponents are House Freedom Caucus Chairman Scott Perry — the far-right ideological group in the House that is home to nearly all of his opponents.
Mr McCarthy, who has a slim majority in his party, cannot lose the support of more than four Republicans as Democrats rally around their own candidate – Hakeem Jeffries.
The House of Representatives, which accounts for half of Congress, is largely at a standstill, unable to start a new session, swear in elected members or conduct business.
The position of speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives usually influences the House’s agenda and is in second place in the presidential line of succession behind Vice President Kamala Harris.