The internal divisions of the Republican Party staged this Tuesday prevented the election of the successor to the Democrat Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, despite holding the sufficient parliamentary majority to do so.
For the first time in a hundred years, the Lower House was unable to name its new president in a single vote. The leader of the Republican caucus, the Californian kevin mccarthyhe tried to establish himself with the position up to three times, but on all of them he failed for one rebellion of the hard wing of his own party.
Exhausted after hours of debates, the congressmen agreed to postpone until this Wednesday the vote to choose the one who will lead the chamber in the 118th legislature, which cannot start until someone assumes the vacant position.
A fractured party
The origin of this blocking situation is in the mid-term elections of last November 8 in which the Congress was renewed.
Republicans tried to sell McCarthy as “proud” pro-gun pro-life
Although Republicans wrested majority from Democrats of the Lower House and could complicate things for President Joe Biden in his last two years in office, the conservative victory was tight and far from the “red wave” that many media had predicted.
Furthermore, the Democrats not only got retain majority in Senatebut they expanded their control with a new seat.
The most moderate Republicans blame this insufficient electoral performance on the leading role that former President Donald Trump (2017-2021) retains in the party, who placed several extremist candidates who ended up losing.
Meanwhile, the hard wing blames the campaign designed by McCarthy, who has led the party in the Lower House since 2014.
three failed attempts
After almost a decade dreaming of this position, McCarthy saw this Tuesday how the possibility of become the third authority of the countryafter the president, Joe Biden, and the vice president, Kamala Harris, who presides over the Senate.
In the most favorable vote, McCarthy only got 203 of the 218 votes he needed.
In none of the three votes did he get the 218 votes he needed. She was left with 203 in the first two and 202 in the last.
And it is that in a clear order against their leadera small group from the right wing of the party, grouped in the Freedom Caucusput forward alternative candidates.
First was andy biggs, from Arizona, who got ten votes. After Jim Jordanfrom Ohio, who had 19 supports in the second ballot and 20 in the third, despite the fact that he himself had called to vote for McCarthy.
The Democratic Party, however, closed ranks with its candidate, Congressman Hakeem Jeffriesfrom New York, who three times concentrated the 212 support of his political formation, also insufficient to preside over the chamber.
Rep. Elise Shefank tried unsuccessfully to win over fractious Republicans by portraying McCarthy as “deeply conservative” and “proud” to be against abortion and in favor of gun rights.
In a clear mockery of the republicansthe Democratic congressman Pete Aguilar exclaimed in his speech: “The Democrats of the House are united.”
no solution in sight
The split was already seen coming even before the opening of the legislature. After a meeting with his colleagues, McCarthy appeared before the press on Tuesday to announce that he did not have enough votes and that there would be a “battle in the chamber.”
The ultra Republicans criticize that the candidate has not negotiated with them
the californian attacked the companions that they think more about “positions for themselves than in the country”, but he warned that he would not go “anywhere” and that he would fight until the end.
The ultraconservative congressmen make McCarthy ugly for not having negotiated with them a reform of the debate rules or the names to lead the congressional committees in the new legislature.
Some of them appeared before the media to confirm that they were not going to support McCarthy and to reproach that the candidate to preside over the House sought their “submission” without conditions, in the words of Florida representative Matt Gaetz.
Both sides waged a battle of attrition in which neither gave in, so they agreed to resume the session on Wednesday at noon.
The regulation does not contemplate any alternative to Votes continue to be repeated until someone achieves the necessary majority to replace the gap left by the hitherto omnipresent Nancy Pelosi, in office for two terms (2007-2011 and 2019-2023).
The precedents are not very encouraging. In 1923, the president of the Chamber was elected in a ninth ballot, while in 1869 it was achieved after 60 ballots, a process that lasted for two months.