US House adjourns after longest fruitless fight in over 100 years for Speaker

Washington, Jan 5 (EFE).- The US House of Representatives adjourned on Thursday without electing a new speaker after Republican Kevin McCarthy failed to win enough votes in one of the longest-running electoral battles in American legislative history to get the top job.

The House decided to adjourn for the night after holding six fruitless rounds of voting to try and elect a new leader during the hectic political activities of the day.

Three votes were held on Tuesday and Wednesday, bringing the number of rounds to 12, surpassing a 100-year-old record, in a protracted contest to choose a speaker in a divided House.

McCarthy failed again and again to get the required 218 votes to seize the gavel of the House and formally open the chamber for the new session of Congress.

Despite raucous Democratic protests, Republicans voted to adjourn and reconvene on Friday at noon to try to break the stalemate between McCarthy’s supporters and opponents.

A dissident group of some 20 far-right GOP members has refused to back him, which has kept the House in limbo.

The ultraconservatives, known as the Freedom Caucus, have been blocking McCarthy’s election since Tuesday, seeking concessions from him.

He has offered them a series of concessions to try and entice them to swing the election his way with their support.

Various US media outlets claimed that the Republicans had reached an agreement in principle between the California congressman and the bloc of lawmakers keeping him away from the post.

They demand that he agree to facilitate censure motions for the speaker, which would weaken the office, and allocate committee seats to their members to increase their congressional clout.

The House cannot move forward with any business until a speaker is elected and the rules of the lower chamber provide only that votes must continue to be taken until – via political horsetrading or sheer exhaustion – lawmakers manage to give a majority to someone.

McCarthy has been in the running all 12 times that lawmakers have voted but he has never been able to obtain more than 203 votes.

Democratic candidate Hakeem Jeffries of New York has got the support of all of his 212 party members in each balloting.

In the 10th vote on Thursday, McCarthy obtained 200 votes, and he has seen his support wane slightly, originally having the support of 203 Republican lawmakers.

In the 10th balloting, GOP lawmakers Byron Donalds and Kevin Hern received 13 and 7 votes, respectively, from that far-right group, while one lawmaker merely voted “present.”

During the votes on Thursday and in the recesses in between them, many lawmakers gathered in groups with long and tired faces to discuss the situation, which appears to be even more logjammed than it was on the first day of voting earlier in the week.

In the 11th vote on Thursday evening, former President Donald Trump was nominated for the speakership.

But his election to that office was, in that balloting, an impossibility given that he only got one vote.

The other 20 votes of the GOP holdouts were divided among several other candidates.

In 1923, the House speaker was elected on the ninth ballot, while in 1869, the election took 60 rounds and lasted for two months. EFE

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