What happens if no speaker is elected?

Without a Speaker, the House cannot form fully, as that person effectively serves as the Chair of the Chamber and as the administrative head of the institution.

WASHINGTON — What was expected to be a day of triumph for House Republicans, who gained a majority turned into chaos On Tuesday, the dispute between the parties over who should lead them in their new reign ended without a speaker on the podium.

Republicans have failed to choose a speaker after Kevin McCarthy failed to overcome opposition from his party’s right flank after an hours-long voting string on the first day of the new Congress.

Opposition to McCarthy’s speakership by 20 lawmakers, including some of the most conservative members of the chamber, hampered the House’s ability to start its work and delayed the swearing-in ceremony of hundreds of returning members and newcomers.

GOP lawmakers will try again on Wednesday to choose a speaker, although it is uncertain how McCarthy might recover after becoming the first candidate for a House speaker in 100 years to fail with his party to win the hammer in the majority.

What you should know as the House enters day two of speaker elections:

WHY IS THERE NO SPEAKER?

McCarthy needed 218 votes across the House and received just 203 in the first two rounds of voting on Day One — fewer even than Democrat Hakeem Jeffries in the GOP-controlled chamber — and fared even worse with 202 in round three.

A growing chorus of critics warned for months that the California Republican did not have the votes to win the constitutionally mandated office, which would make him second in line for the presidency. In response, McCarthy negotiated endlessly with members, including MPs Andy Biggs, Scott Perry and Matt Gaetz, to gain their support.

Negotiations lasted until Monday night, when members of the ultra-conservative Freedom Caucus presented McCarthy with their final bid, which included demands for specific committee assignments in exchange for their votes.

McCarthy refused, saying he had gone far enough to placate lawmakers.

“For the past two months, we’ve worked together as a whole conference to develop rules that empower all members, but we don’t empower certain members over others,” McCarthy told reporters early Tuesday.

As a result, these members and more than a dozen others openly defied him on the ground.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR THE CHAMBER?

Without a Speaker, the House cannot fully form, as that person effectively serves as the Chair of the Chamber and as the administrative head of the institution.

The swearing-in of members, the appointment of committee chairs, participation in ground procedures, and the initiation of oversight investigations are all postponed until a spokesperson is elected and sworn into office.

“The spotlight needs to be on these 19 – now 20 – who are stopping the business of Congress that we were elected to do,” said Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb. “It’s on her.”

How is it resolved?

It remains unclear if and when McCarthy will cross the threshold to become the next Speaker of the House. The current number of Republicans who have pledged their support to other candidates stands at 20, with some suspecting that list is growing.

The House of Representatives is scheduled to begin another round of voting for the speaker on Wednesday noon. Once the House has a quorum – meaning that the minimum number of members present to proceed – each party’s nominated speaker will be read by their respective leaders before a roll-call vote to elect a new speaker.

On Tuesday, Republicans opposed to McCarthy nominated a slew of other candidates, including Biggs, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio and even former Rep. Lee Zeldin of New York.

“I rise to nominate the most talented, hard-working member of the Republican conference who just delivered a speech with more vision than we’ve ever heard from the alternative,” Gaetz said Tuesday while nominating Jordan.

Certainly none of them garnered a majority of the vote, but it was enough to deprive McCarthy of support, who, with a 222-213 majority, can’t afford to lose more than a handful of votes.

The nominee for Speaker needs a majority of the votes cast by the members of the House of Representatives present and voting. Any lawmaker who votes “present” reduces the total number required to achieve a majority.

If McCarthy falls short again Wednesday, the secretary will repeat the roll-call vote until he can obtain a majority or a motion for an adjournment is approved.

HAS THIS EVER HAPPENED?

The last time the House did not choose a Speaker on the first ballot was in 1923, when the election spanned nine ballots.

By that time, Republicans had won the majority, despite losing a staggering 77 seats and narrowing their lead over Democrats from 171 to just 18. The majority party had nominated incumbent Rep. Frederick Gillett, R-Mass., to the position, but several other candidates, including a Democrat, received votes during appeal.

This led to a series of votes spanning three days before House Majority Leader Nicholas Longworth, R-Ohio, held an emergency meeting with opponents. Their concerns, similar to those against McCarthy, centered on a number of rule changes they believed deserved a fair hearing. Longworth signed on and the next day Gillett collected the 215 votes he needed to remain speaker.

Associated Press writer Lisa Mascaro contributed to this report.

https://www.kvue.com/article/news/nation-world/day-2-house-speaker-election/507-48cd7181-1d58-4357-925a-19fffcb7c2dd What happens if no speaker is elected?

Laura Coffey

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