(The Center Square) – Republican lawmakers remained divided Thursday, voting a seventh, eighth, ninth, 10th and 11th time for a Speaker of the House with no one getting the needed 218 votes to secure the spot.
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Lawmakers adjourned for the night after the 11th vote. Until a speaker is chosen, the House remains without a leader and lawmakers can do little else but gather and vote again.
California Republican Kevin McCarthy can only afford to lose four Republican votes and still win the position, but about 20 have continued to vote against him and for a challenger. Those challengers have varied and included Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla.
At one point Thursday, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., voted for former President Donald Trump to be Speaker of the House. Though the speaker does not have to be a lawmaker, it would be highly unusual for Trump to fill the spot.
Trump did weigh in on social media Wednesday in a TruthSocial post, throwing his weight behind McCarthy.
The holdouts have reportedly been negotiating with McCarthy behind the scenes, but so far a deal has not been reached. Some Republicans at least publicly have suggested they will never support McCarthy.
“In his 14 years in Republican leadership, McCarthy has repeatedly failed to demonstrate any desire to meaningfully change the status quo in Washington,” U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, R-Penn., said. “Despite our deep reservations we have continued to work in earnest to find a path forward with McCarthy, knowing that this crucial moment would come.”
As The Center Square previously reported, Perry said he and other conservative members in the House laid out conditions for McCarthy but that he “balked” when faced with them. Those conditions included a promise to vote on a balanced budget, the “Texas Border Plan,” term limits for members of Congress, and the Fair Tax Act, which would create a national sales tax on certain services and property to replace the current income tax, payroll taxes, and estate and gift taxes.
“We requested transparent, accountable votes on individual earmarks that would require two-thirds support to pass, and to ensure that all amendments to cut spending would be allowed floor consideration,” Perry said. “He dismissed it.”
McCarthy’s Republican supporters have continued to publicly attack the holdouts within their own party, so far to no avail.
“My office was informed by an agency today that they cannot communicate with my staff regarding active casework because we are not yet sworn in!” said Rep. Don Bacon, R-Nebraska. “The handful holding up the speaker election is not helping Americans but directly hurting them.”