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US House of Representatives adjourns without electing a speaker

US House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) speaks to reporters after he is nominated by fellow Republicans to be their leader or the speaker of the House if they take control in the next Congress, following House Republican leadership elections at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, November 15, 2022. (File photo by Reuters)

The United States House of Representatives has adjourned again without choosing a new speaker as the Republicans remained divided over choosing the GOP leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who has failed to secure the votes of far-right Republicans.

McCarthy on Thursday night lost an unprecedented 11th round of voting after three days of deliberations for the post. Afterward, he began taking care of business in any possible way by working out a deal with the resisting far-right Republicans. This is the longest time the chamber has gone leaderless in generations.

Around 200 Republicans have backed McCarthy and less than 10 percent of the lawmakers in the party holdouts are against him.

The division has paralyzed the House for the time being, preventing lawmakers from beginning their work in the New Year.

In the meantime, the House is set to reconvene at noon ET on Friday, as McCarthy and his allies give the hardline conservatives an offer for more power in the new GOP majority that they cannot refuse.

Ahead of Thursday’s final speaker vote, two members of the bloc of 20 Republican holdouts opposing McCarthy’s speakership nominated alternative candidates to McCarthy: The first pick was GOP Rep. Kevin Hern of Oklahoma, who leads the influential Republican Study Committee.

Hern has consistently voted for McCarthy’s speakership, but he has not said outright that he would reject the job if McCarthy withdraws his name.

The second nominee was former President Donald Trump, who was put forward by his longtime ally, Florida GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz.

Gaetz formally nominated the former president to be House speaker on the 11th ballot.

Trump ended up in the 11th round of voting by getting a single vote, from Gaetz, drawing laughter from House members.

Meanwhile, Democrats appeared to revel in the repeated GOP failures, telling Republicans it was time to get serious.

“This sacred House of Representatives needs a leader,” said Democrat Joe Neguse of Colorado, nominating House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries as the new House speaker.

Following the 2018 midterm elections which saw the election of a Democratic Party majority in the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi was elected speaker who served from 2019 to 2023.

Women make up more than a quarter of all members of the current 118th Congress.

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