McCarthy gains several GOP votes but still lacks majority to win House speaker

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy is trying again on Friday to muster a majority on the floor to win the race for speaker after failing in 13 rounds of voting, now in its fourth day this week.

Although Republicans have yet to reach an agreement, McCarthy predicted before the House met Friday, “You’re going to see some people who vote against me vote for me.” He was right — in the 12th round of voting more than a dozen holdouts and one lawmaker who had said “present” in past rounds switched their votes in his favor.

In the 13th round, he got one more, but was still a few votes short. Two GOP members who missed the first votes Friday plan to return to Washington Friday night. If no one leaves, there will be 434 lawmakers to vote, and McCarthy will need 218 to win. He had 214 in the 13th round. He will have to flip two holdouts or at least convince three holdouts to vote “present.”

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After the House adjourned until 10 p.m., McCarthy declared, “Ill have the votes” as he walked from the floor to his office.

Friday marked the first day McCarthy had a greater number of votes than Democrat Hakeem Jeffries.

Speaker elections have not gone beyond nine rounds since before the Civil War.

On Friday morning, before a 10:15 a.m. GOP conference call to outline a deal with some of the GOP holdouts who oppose him, McCarthy told CBS News, “We’re going to shock you.” But after that conference call, two people on the call told CBS News that no deal had been reached.

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McCarthy made two major concessions to 21 conservative holdouts on Wednesday. The first would lower the threshold for a motion to vacate the seat to just one member of the House, meaning any single member could call a vote to oust the speaker. The second would give GOP holdouts the power to choose two of the nine members of the House Rules Committee, which has significant power over where legislation ends up on the floor.

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Despite those compromises, none of the holdouts backed McCarthy in any of Thursday’s four rounds of voting.

The ongoing impasse effectively leaves the House in limbo, as lawmakers must first select a speaker before moving on to other business in the new Congress.

Democrats remained united behind Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York, the first Black party leader in either house of Congress. Jeffries and his lieutenants said Democrats are “united and committed to staying in Washington as long as necessary to fix Congress.”

Ellis Kim, Rebecca Kaplan and Alan He contributed to this report.


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