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HomeNewsPoliticsRepublicans in disarray after failing to pick House speaker

Republicans in disarray after failing to pick House speaker

WASHINGTON — Unable to elect Republican leader Kevin McCarthy as the new House speaker Tuesday, the Republicans adjourned for the day in disarray as the party tries to regroup from his a historic defeat after a long, messy start for the new Congress.

Key Biscayne’s representative in Congress, Maria Elvira Salazar, voted to support McCarthy in three votes that fell short of a majority. She posted a picture of herself along with fellow Republican Rep. Carlos Gimenez, the former mayor of Miami-Dade County.

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The surprise move end to Day One shows there is no easy way out for McCarthy whose effort to claim the gavel collapsed to opposition from conservatives. Needing 218 votes in the full House, McCarthy got just 203 in two rounds — less even than Democrat Hakeem Jeffries in the GOP-controlled chamber. A third ballot was even worse, with McCarthy losing 20 votes as night fell on the new House GOP majority, tensions rising as all other business came to a halt.

The House agreed to return at noon Wednesday.

McCarthy had pledged a “battle on the floor” for as long as it took to overcome right-flank fellow Republicans who were refusing to give him their votes. But it was not at all clear how the embattled GOP leader could rebound after becoming the first House speaker nominee in 100 years to fail to win the gavel with his party in the majority.

Without a speaker, the House cannot fully form — swearing in its members, naming its committee chairmen, engaging in floor proceedings and launching investigations of the Biden administration.

“We all came here to get things done,” said the second-ranking Republican, Rep. Steve Scalise, in a rousing speech urging his colleagues to drop their protest.

Railing against President Joe Biden’s agenda, Scalise said, “We can’t start fixing those problems until we elect Kevin McCarthy our next speaker.”

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It was a chaotic start to the new Congress and pointed to a tangled road ahead with Republicans now in control of the House. A new generation of conservative Republicans, many aligned with Donald Trump’s MAGA agenda, want to upend business as usual in Washington, and were committed to stop McCarthy’s rise without concessions to their priorities.

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