*** New Congress Livewire *** Republicans Take Over House, Speakership Election to Decide Who Will Lead Chamber

FILE - House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, of Calif., speaks during a news conference wi
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File

Republicans formally retake control of the lower chamber of Congress on Tuesday, as their new majority in the U.S. House of Representatives won in the November 2022 midterm elections is sworn in.

All eyes are on the speakership election, where House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy–the GOP conference’s nominee for Speaker–seeks to make it official and lock in the votes necessary to win the gavel. However, McCarthy has been fighting off a band of rebels working to prevent him from ascending to the position and it could derail the new Congress on its first day since nothing else can happen until a speaker is elected. To win, a speaker must earn the majority of votes of those who are present and voting for a person–nominated or not. Any absences or “present” votes lower the threshold by a half vote below what full House attendance–435 members–would require to achieve such a majority, which is 218 votes. Since one Democrat died in late November, the late Rep. Donald McEachin (D-VA), the number is already down to at most 434 members for full attendance–and could drop lower if more Democrats do not show up or vote present. If all the other Democrats show up, it would still require 218 votes to elect a speaker–and Democrats have said they will be at full attendance.

While McCarthy’s team is confident he will get there, it is possible he might not. If he does not get a majority on the first ballot, Congress will be paralyzed until a speaker is elected. The last time a speakership election went more than one ballot was a century ago, and back in the mid-1800s one speakership election went more than a hundred ballots and took months. One of McCarthy’s top critics, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), has said it might not be until the cherry blossoms bloom in the mid- to late spring at the end of March or beginning of April that a speaker is elected. While that would be a far-fetched scenario, chaos is certainly a possibility–or everything could go very smoothly for McCarthy. What happens on Tuesday remains to be seen.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) speaks during testimony by constitutional scholars before the House Judiciary Committee in the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill December 4, 2019 in Washington, DC. This is the first hearing held by the Judiciary Committee in the impeachment inquiry against U.S. President Donald Trump, whom House Democrats say held back military aid for Ukraine while demanding it investigate his political rivals. The Judiciary Committee will decide whether to draft official articles of impeachment against President Trump to be voted on by the full House of Representatives. (Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images)

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) speaks during testimony by constitutional scholars before the House Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill December 4, 2019, in Washington, DC. (Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Capitol, Senate Democrats add one seat to their majority as Democrat John Fetterman formally takes office as a U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania. Democrats held onto their seats everywhere else, but Republicans were able to hold competitive seats in Ohio and North Carolina. Several new and exciting conservatives will join the Senate’s GOP minority formally on Tuesday, with Ohio’s J.D. Vance, North Carolina’s Ted Budd, Alabama’s Katie Britt, and Oklahoma’s Markwayne Mullin taking office in the 51-49 Democrat-controlled chamber.


Katie Britt, U.S. Republican Senate candidate for Alabama, during an election night watch event in Montgomery, Alabama, May 24, 2022. (Andi Rice/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Follow along here on Breitbart News for live updates as the speakership election and other festivities of the day move forward on Tuesday, the first day of the 118th Congress of the United States of America.

UPDATE 5:41 p.m. ET:

There are a number of scenarios that can play out from here. McCarthy, with 202 votes on the third ballot and 203 on the first and second ballots, could negotiate a deal with the 16 of the 20 GOP members who voted against him on the third ballot–there 19 on the first two ballots–and come back tomorrow with the votes to get it done and get across the finish line.

It is also possible this gridlock continues to play out all day tomorrow as well, which would make tomorrow look  lots like today.

Another possibility is that Republicans try a different candidate than McCarthy. The likeliest such person would probably be House Majority Leader Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), even though at least one of the 20 who voted against McCarthy, Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-MT), says he opposes Scalise too.

Scalise would probably be the next person to try if McCarthy moves aside, and if Scalise cannot get there either then Republicans would likely try another member. Possibilities include Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) or Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), both of whom would probably have similar trouble getting to 218 votes.

It is after all that plays out that there is serious concern among conservatives that establishment moderate Republicans could get together with the House Democrats to form what they would call a “coalition government” and what conservatives would call the “doomsday scenario.” In this case, the Democrats would provide the votes necessary to elect such a moderate establishment Republican as Speaker in exchange for rules changes that would include weakening or eliminating the ability of the House to issue subpoenas to President Joe Biden and his family members like Hunter Biden. So, where this could end up is a situation whereby the very thing Republicans wanted to do with this majority they won is totally destroyed because of the inability to agree on a Speaker.

One thing is clear: In the modern era, this has never happened. The last time a Speakership election went more than one ballot was a century ago in 1923–before the age of television and the 24-hour news cycle–and this chaos is certainly not likely to help Republicans as they set out with their slim majority to hold the Biden administration accountable.

UPDATE 5:28 p.m. ET:

The House has now adjourned until noon tomorrow, via a voice vote to do so. Only one member yelled out “no” when asked about this. No Speaker has been elected to begin the new Congress, and it remains to be seen what happens next.

UPDATE 4:44 p.m. ET:

As the third ballot roll call comes to the end of the alphabet, it is clear that McCarthy will come up short again and a fourth ballot is going to be necessary. At this stage, only Donalds has changed his vote–moving away from McCarthy.

UPDATE 4:29 p.m. ET:

Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) switched his vote away from McCarthy to Jordan, meaning McCarthy has lost at least one member on this third ballot.

UPDATE 4:17 p.m. ET:

The talk of the doomsday scenario is growing quickly. Now, Charlie Kirk from Turning Point USA is warning he is hearing of it as well:

UPDATE 4:15 p.m. ET:

Biggs sticks with Jordan on third ballot. So does Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC). So does Boebert. It does not appear anything has changed since the second ballot so far.

UPDATE 4:12 p.m. ET:

Now, Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) is arguing all this chaos is a “good thing,” as he rises to nominate Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) again as a candidate for Speaker of the House in the third ballot. Roy is giving an impassioned speech about the swamp being broken, and needing rules changes in the House to improve the processes–but again is short on specifics. The third vote is beginning now.


UPDATE 4:07 p.m. ET:

Aguilar nominates Jeffries again, and “Hakeem!” chants break out in the chamber. What a day for the first day of the House GOP majority.

UPDATE 4:05 p.m. ET:

Now, former Ohio Gov. John Kasich–a Republican who ran for president against former President Donald Trump in 2016–is publicly calling for a group of House Republicans to band together to make a deal with Democrats to pick the next Speaker:

Meanwhile, apparently Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) may be open to turning against McCarthy as the third ballot begins:

If McCarthy starts losing members, and does not flip anyone back, this could slide for him–and shift towards the doomsday scenario quickly.

UPDATE 4:02 p.m. ET:

Now, Scalise is rising to nominate McCarthy for the third ballot.

UPDATE 3:59 p.m. ET:

The clerk is gaveling back in to read the results of the second vote, which also failed to produce a majority for any candidate. Things appear to be heading to a third ballot soon.

UPDATE 3:49 p.m. ET:

Democrats are holding their crew together and not backing down at all:

So this all comes together to mean the doomsday scenario is looking even more likely unless McCarthy can make headway with 15 of the 19 holdouts.

UPDATE 3:45 p.m. ET:

Several sources on both sides of the aisle are beginning to talk of a “coalition government” type scenario–which Breitbart News previously reported was something pro-McCarthy conservatives were calling the doomsday scenario–whereby Democrats would deliver the votes necessary to elect a moderate establishment Republican as Speaker in exchange for rules changes to the House rules that include eliminating the ability for the new GOP majority to issue subpoenas to President Joe Biden and his family. The fact that the 19 holdouts inside the GOP against McCarthy are showing no signs of budging or being willing to discuss things is making this scenario more and more likely.

UPDATE 3:13 p.m. ET:

It is possible that the Democrats might bail on this as this continues to future ballots. For McCarthy to win the gavel without flipping any GOP holdouts, he would need at least 30 Democrats to take a hike:

UPDATE 3:06 p.m. ET:

Self voted for Jordan, too, meaning nobody has switched so far to being for McCarthy–he was the 19th vote last time against McCarthy and is the 19th against him this time. McCarthy has not lost anyone either. So this is definitely heading to a third ballot at this stage.

UPDATE 3:04 p.m. ET:

Rosendale votes for Jordan. So does Roy.

UPDATE 3:02 p.m. ET:

Ogles and Perry both went for Jordan. Again, this is very likely heading to a third ballot. McCarthy has not lost anyone. But he also has not gained anyone back either.

UPDATE 3:00 p.m. ET:

Norman goes for Jordan.

UPDATE 2:59 p.m. ET:

Rep. Mary Miller (R-IL) voted for Jordan.

UPDATE 2:55 p.m. ET:

Luna goes with Jordan. Again, McCarthy has not lost anyone but he also has not picked up anyone.

UPDATE 2:50 p.m. ET:

This is very likely heading to a third ballot as enough Republicans have come out against McCarthy now to prevent him from getting a majority without Democrats stepping in for him.

Jordan votes for McCarthy even though Gaetz nominated him and every McCarthy dissenter is voting for him. Jordan had nominated McCarthy.

UPDATE 2:45 p.m. ET:

Harris votes for Jordan.

UPDATE 2:44 p.m. ET:

Good votes for Jordan after previously voting for Biggs. So does Gosar.

UPDATE 2:42 p.m. ET:

Gaetz, as expected, votes for Jordan.

UPDATE 2:37 p.m. ET:

Crane switches to Jordan from Biggs. Again, lines holding pretty firm here. Nobody leaving McCarthy but he is not gaining anyone back either.

UPDATE 2:35 p.m. ET:

Cloud sticks with Jordan, and Clyde switches to Jordan from Biggs. McCarthy has not lost anyone, but he also has not gained anyone back yet either.

UPDATE 2:32 p.m. ET:

Breechen switches to Jordan too after previously voting for Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) on the first ballot.

UPDATE 2:31 p.m. ET:

Boebert keeps her vote with Jordan again, just like last time.

UPDATE 2:30 p.m. ET:

Biggs changes his vote from the first ballot and now votes for Jordan on the second ballot. Bishop does the same.

UPDATE 2:27 p.m. ET:

Here we go again: The House is now proceeding to vote on the second ballot for Speaker for the first time in a century.

UPDATE 2:24 p.m. ET:

Now, Gaetz is stepping up to nominate Jordan for Speaker–after Jordan just nominated McCarthy.

UPDATE 2:23 p.m. ET:

Jordan makes an impassioned speech backing McCarthy for Speaker, and then when Aguilar stepped up to nominate Jeffries again he is called out by the House clerk for attacking the Republicans.

UPDATE 2:17 p.m. ET:

The clerk is coming back now and notes that 434 votes were cast and that Jeffries got 212, McCarthy got 203, Biggs got 10, Jordan got 6, Banks got 1, Zeldin got 1, and Donalds got 1.

She says that since nobody got a majority “a Speaker has not been elected” and will use a procedure used by the House in 1923 to begin a new speakership vote.

Jordan steps up to nominate McCarthy for Speaker on the second ballot.

UPDATE 2:12 p.m. ET:

Breitbart News’s Ashley Oliver, in the Capitol for us today, confirms the news that Jordan is going to nominate McCarthy on the second ballot.

UPDATE 2:11 p.m. ET:

Reports are emerging that Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), who received six votes despite not being nominated on the first ballot, will formally nominate McCarthy on a second ballot:

Jordan has long supported McCarthy despite some of the McCarthy critics urging him to run. If McCarthy gets Jordan to do this, it would be a big step for him–and would likely move some of those members who voted for others back to McCarthy. McCarthy needs to flip 15 out of the 19 Republicans who voted for someone other than him back to his side to win on a future ballot.

UPDATE 1:46 p.m. ET:

Since no candidate got a majority of votes on the first ballot, the Speakership election will go to a second ballot for the first time in a century.

UPDATE 1:43 p.m. ET:

McCarthy finally crosses the 200-vote threshold, but Jeffries finished with more votes than he did. McCarthy, with 202 votes, has less than Jeffries’s 211 votes. Ten members voted for Biggs, and 9 members voted for someone else.

UPDATE 1:39 p.m. ET:

Jeffries actually crosses the 200-vote threshold before McCarthy as zero Democrats have broken with him. If Republicans were united they would have more votes than Jeffries does right now.

UPDATE 1:36 p.m. ET:

Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-MT) had went for Biggs, so that actually means 19 are against McCarthy.

UPDATE 1:34 p.m. ET:

Rep. Keith Self (R-TX) voted for Jordan. That makes 18.

UPDATE 1:32 p.m. ET:

Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) voted for Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL). Donalds had earlier voted for McCarthy. That is now 17 Republicans against McCarthy.

UPDATE 1:30 p.m. ET:

Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA), the House Freedom Caucus chairman, voted for Biggs. That makes it 16.

UPDATE 1:29 p.m. ET:

Rep. Andy Ogles (R-TN) voted for Jordan, and Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC) voted for Biggs. That makes the number of anti-McCarthy votes 15 so far.

UPDATE 1:25 p.m. ET:

Rep. Mary Miller (R-IL) just voted for Jordan. That brings total GOP votes for someone other than McCarthy to 13 so far, with at least one more in Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-MT) coming. Also watch Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX).

UPDATE 1:22 p.m. ET:

Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL), a freshman from Florida, voted for Jordan.

UPDATE 1:16 p.m. ET:

While some others voted for him without him being nominated, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) voted for McCarthy. Jordan has long supported McCarthy in this Speakership bid.

UPDATE 1:13 p.m. ET:

Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) voted for former Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY). This is almost certainly heading to a second ballot:

UPDATE 1:10 p.m. ET:

Gaetz votes for Biggs.

Then, Rep. Ruben Gallegos (D-AZ) mocks the Republicans when he votes for Jeffries by saying: “I vote for the current vote-leader Hakeem Jeffries.”

Good then moments later votes for Biggs. Seconds after that Gosar then joins them and votes for Biggs.

UPDATE 1:02 p.m. ET:

Rep. Michael Cloud (R-TX) voted for Jordan:

And Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA) voted for Biggs:

And Rep. Eli Crane (R-AZ) voted for Biggs too.

UPDATE 12:59 p.m. ET:

A freshman from Oklahoma voted for Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), but otherwise members are all falling in line for the most part. Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO), for instance, voted for McCarthy after speculation he might now.

UPDATE 12:56 p.m. ET:

Biggs cast a vote for himself and Bishop voted for Biggs too, the first two defectors inside GOP against McCarthy. Boebert was the third vote against McCarthy, voting for Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH)–who was not nominated–but otherwise all votes are going according to plan for McCarthy.

UPDATE 12:52 p.m. ET:

The voting is beginning now. The clerk calls the roll in alphabetical order. A candidate needs 218 votes to win this ballot.

UPDATE 12:50 p.m. ET:

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) stepped up to nominate Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) for Speaker. Nobody else has stepped forward to nominate anyone else. The first vote is beginning shortly.

UPDATE 12:41 p.m. ET:

Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-CA), the Democrat conference chairman, rose to nominate Democrat Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) for Speaker on the Democrat side. Jeffries succeeded former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after the midterm elections when Pelosi–who is still a member of the House–stepped aside when Democrats lost the majority.

UPDATE 12:39 p.m. ET:

In her speech nominating McCarthy, Stefanik listed several major accomplishments he has had as the House GOP leader including securing the repeal of the vaccine mandate for military service members, exposing the border crisis, and more. She also laid his background from humble beginnings.

UPDATE 12:34 p.m. ET:

House GOP conference chairwoman Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) rose to formally nominate McCarthy for Speaker.

UPDATE 12:29 p.m. ET:

The House is at full attendance–434 members, as the late former Rep. Donald McEachin (D-VA) had passed away after the election–which means Democrats have delivered on their end to guarantee using McCarthy critics’ obstinance and lack of a clear plan to inflict as much possible pain on Republicans as they can:

UPDATE 12:15 p.m. ET:

Donald Trump Jr. is getting even more aggressive in calling out McCarthy critics, specifically Boebert, Gaetz, and Perry:

UPDATE 12:12 p.m. ET:

The House quorum call ongoing right now will determine how many members are present and how many votes McCarthy will need to win:

Technically, McCarthy will need a majority of those present and voting for a person to vote for him to win. It remains to be seen how many members are there today.

UPDATE 12:05 p.m. ET:

It looks like that doomsday scenario is becoming more and more likely, as Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-MT) says he will not back McCarthy or Scalise for Speaker:

UPDATE 12:02 p.m. ET:

The House is now and session as the Clerk called the chamber into action and the House Chaplain read an opening prayer.

UPDATE 12:01 p.m. ET:

It is also worth noting that Boebert and Rep. Bob Good (R-VA) took cash from McCarthy in their own reelection battles, highlighting their hypocrisy here:

UPDATE 12:00 p.m. ET:

House members are in the Chamber preparing for the beginning of the quorum call which will begin the speakership election.

UPDATE 11:53 a.m. ET:

Now, former President Donald Trump’s eldest son Donald Trump Jr. has joined the fray in ripping McCarthy critics:

There is serious concern rising their actions could lead to the doomsday scenario:

UPDATE 11:50 a.m. ET:

Just moments from the noon quorum call, it is increasingly apparent that McCarthy is likely to lose on the first ballot:

He was successful in showcasing the insanity and illogical nature of those with whom he is negotiating, however, as he has rallied the rest of the Republicans behind him. Whether he can win on a subsequent ballot remains to be seen:

Given that any other candidate who would seek to win with GOP votes only–like House Majority Leader Steve Scalise–would likely rollback any of the concessions that McCarthy made to these conservatives given pressure from the other side of the conference, the likelihood or possibility of what Breitbart News first described as a “doomsday scenario” is becoming more and more realistic.

The “doomsday scenario” means a group of establishment House Republicans would band together with House Democrats–who are unified right now in encouraging the chaos that McCarthy critics are furthering–to elect an establishment Republican as Speaker. In exchange for their votes, the Democrats would demand a change to the House rules that would all but destroy the ability of House Republicans to issue subpoenas to the Biden administration.

UPDATE 11:43 a.m. ET:

Movement conservatives like Ned Ryun are now openly calling out Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), saying the Arizona congressman is a “fraud”:

Again, this is not working out the way the McCarthy critics thought it would at least for now.

UPDATE 11:39 a.m. ET:

Rep. Stephanie Bice (R-OK) made the point that McCarthy critics keep moving the goalposts. That is factually accurate, as Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) literally admitted publicly in a press conference after the House GOP conference meeting:

The fact that Boebert is openly admitting to moving the goalposts is a significant development and likely to backfire on the McCarthy critics in a very big way.

UPDATE 11:30 a.m. ET:

Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC) announces he is against McCarthy:

UPDATE 11:12 a.m. ET:

McCarthy, in remarks after the conference meeting of Republicans, noted he has the record for the longest speech on the floor of the House which he gave when trying to hold up Biden’s agenda last year. He said he does not mind setting a record for the most amount of votes to eventually get to the Speakership. McCarthy is quite clearly fighting this out all the way.

UPDATE 11:10 a.m. ET:

Breitbart News’s Ashley Oliver, who is in the Capitol reporting for us today, sends along this update:

UPDATE 10:58 a.m. ET:

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) literally admitted in a press conference after the GOP conference meeting that she and others were moving the goalposts in what they were pushing for–she said she wanted a one-member threshold to engage in a motion to vacate the chair. She now says that staff agreed to that, but that she is instead now pushing for more. She added that McCarthy himself has not said that to her yet.

UPDATE 10:50 a.m. ET:

This could actually end very badly for the anti-McCarthy forces if they do not take the wins they have accrued in these negotiations. As Ryan Girdusky points out, a future person not named McCarthy could really screw over conservatives using this chaos as an example:

Girdusky also rightly points out that Cammack is a serious player here and her being on McCarthy’s side is a huge deal:

Meanwhile, if they do end up taking out McCarthy, it is very likely that all of the concessions they have negotiated  from him will be erased with the next man up if that were to happen:

UPDATE 10:43 a.m. ET:

The Democrats are clearly enjoying the circus that the Republicans are creating:

In other words, Democrats intend to use these antics from anti-McCarthy Republicans to inflict as much pain as they possibly can on Republicans on day one of the new Congress.

UPDATE 10:40 a.m. ET:

McCarthy responded to Norman by saying–to wide-scale agreement in conference–that what he is planning on doing will hurt not just him but the whole conference:

This seems to be McCarthy’s strategy this morning at the literal 11th hour: Challenge critics and force them to tell their colleagues why they are doing what they are doing.

And it seems to be working. Very reasonable top conservatives like Rep. Kat Cammack (R-FL)–who replaced founding Freedom Caucus member former Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) in their north Florida district–is bashing the organization she helped create. Cammack was Yoho’s chief of staff back when he was in Congress and a leading Freedom Caucus member:

UPDATE 10:33 a.m. ET:

This is an interesting development. In conference, Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC)–one of the original five anti-McCarthy votes–says he will vote for Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) on the “first ballot”:

The “first ballot” is the key phrase here. He may be going to make his statement there, and then members may coalesce behind McCarthy on a subsequent ballot.

UPDATE 10:31 a.m. ET:

The lack of a serious plan from the McCarthy critics–as Breitbart News has extensively reported, they have no plan and never have had a plan and never intended to develop one–is causing major backlash against their cause from other House Republicans and even empowering people like Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) who is frankly the target of many conservatives’ ire:

UPDATE 10:28 am. ET:

It is very likely the more the McCarthy critics continue down the rabbit hole of illogical insanity steering Republicans towards chaos on their first day of their new majority that they end up paying some kind of consequence for their behavior. Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL), who is likely to chair the House Armed Services Committee for instance, suggested they should lose any and all committee assignments:

Even if they succeed in stopping McCarthy in the end, it is very plausible and perhaps likely that whoever emerges as Speaker–McCarthy or otherwise–would take drastic actions to rein these people in.

UPDATE 10:20 a.m. ET:

This morning, House Freedom Caucus chairman Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) laid out a list of demands that he said McCarthy did not agree to giving–sparking a battle between the two sides of the conference. McCarthy has now taken the fight directly to the membership of the conference in a closed-door full GOP conference meeting, and is winning broad support. He earned a standing ovation in the conference.

Also, last night–something McCarthy reportedly ousted in his speech this morning–several of the anti-McCarthy members admitted they did not care if Democrat leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) won the speakership:

But, in addition to that, McCarthy actually did make serious concessions to his critics–and they are now proving they are not interested in taking the wins they gained, but instead just burning it all down:

This is something that even Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) has called them out over, insisting that they are clearly not interested in governing but instead just constant chaos:

While McCarthy still seems a long ways off from the votes he needs to win the gavel on Tuesday–quorum call on the floor is at noon–his critics are finally getting called to the mat and exposed for their antics.


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