House of Representatives adjourns: Even Trump cannot help Kevin McCarthy

In 1923, members of the US House of Representatives needed a total of nine ballots before they chose their new speaker.

House of Representatives adjourns: Even Trump cannot help Kevin McCarthy

In 1923, members of the US House of Representatives needed a total of nine ballots before they chose their new speaker. It is quite possible that this number will even be surpassed this time. After Republican nominee McCarthy fails six times, the vote is again adjourned. Ex-President Trump had spoken to the apostate Republicans in the conscience.

The Republicans in the US House of Representatives have failed for the sixth time in trying to elect a new chairman for the Congress Chamber. The previous faction leader Kevin McCarthy did not get a sufficient majority among his party colleagues after three attempts on Tuesday and three on Wednesday. After the session was initially suspended for several hours, the meeting was adjourned to Thursday.

McCarthy, a longtime ally of former President Donald Trump, faces staunch opposition from ultra-conservative Republicans, who make up less than 10 percent of the caucus. Even the first defeat the day before was historic: Since 1923, no "speaker" has needed more than one vote, at that time the new speaker was only confirmed after nine ballots.

Before the fourth vote, President Joe Biden and his predecessor Trump had already intervened. The bitter rivals unanimously warned that the situation was becoming embarrassing. "That doesn't make a good impression," Democrat Biden said. "This is the United States of America and I hope they pull themselves together." Allies and enemies may have doubts as to whether US democracy has recovered from the January 6, 2021 riots. Back then, Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, the seat of Congress.

Trump, for his part, called on his party colleagues to vote for McCarthy on his media platform Truth Social. "Do not turn a great triumph into a huge and embarrassing defeat," he wrote.

Without a chairman, the chamber is effectively unable to act. The budget laws for the federal government emanate from the regular 435 MPs. Given the stalemate, the question is whether the House of Representatives will be able to carry out its most basic functions in the structure of state. The Republicans had actually hoped to initiate investigations against Biden or to advance their political priorities after returning to power.

Moderate Republicans expressed frustration ahead of Wednesday's vote. "There is growing anger among members because they have a hard time understanding what exactly the holdouts want," said Rep. Dusty Johnson. For years, a dispute has been raging among the Republicans between those members who, like Trump, want to move the party further to the right, and a comparatively moderate camp. McCarthy faces allegations that he was not aggressive enough in his tenure as minority leader to stand up to the Democrats under outgoing leader Nancy Pelosi. Some Republicans also consider him too fickle.

In the congressional elections in November, the Republicans regained a majority in the House of Representatives for the first time in four years. With 222 to 212 mandates, this is narrow. Nevertheless, the election of the "speaker" - in German usually called "president" - of the House of Representatives should only be a formality. After all, it is about the third-highest post in the state, after the presidential and vice-presidential offices.

According to the House Historical Service, there have only been 14 occasions since 1789 when more than one ballot was required to elect the Speaker. Of these, 13 were before the Civil War, when party affiliation was more flexible. In the USA there is no faction requirement.

Even if McCarthy were to prevail in the end, he would take up the post weakened. Instead of being able to focus on making life difficult for Biden, he would have to bridge the gaps in his own party. The fact that he initially lost again despite Trump's support on Wednesday could also weaken his prospects as a presidential candidate. In the United States, congressional and presidential elections will take place in November 2024. Whether Biden and Trump will then compete again is still open.

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