This was CNBC's live blog covering Friday's and Saturday's historic votes to elect a new U.S. House Speaker.
The U.S. House of Representatives elected GOP leader Kevin McCarthy of California as speaker in a dramatic 15th vote early Saturday, after a contentious four days and 14 failed ballots — the longest the chamber has gone leaderless in a century.
In a tense showdown on the House floor in the middle of the 14th failed vote at around 11 p.m. ET Friday, McCarthy personally confronted GOP Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida and Lauren Boebert of Colorado.
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Despite making numerous concessions to win support from them and other far right Republicans over the course of the week, they still refused to support McCarthy outright. They, instead, joined four other Republicans in the 15th and final vote by voting "present," which helped him clinch the gavel by reducing the number of votes he needed to get to a majority. He won with 216 out of 428 possible votes.
Support for McCarthy dwindled over the first three days of voting from 203 votes on Tuesday to 200 by the 11th vote on Thursday, falling far short of the number needed to win the speakership. He needed support from more than half of the lawmakers who cast their ballots. With 222 Republicans in the House, he could only afford to lose a handful of votes.
All 212 Democrats have unanimously backed House Minority Leader Hakeem Jefferies for each vote, except the 12th vote in which one member was out for a minor surgery.
Biden congratulates McCarthy on speaker election, takes subtle dig at House GOP
President Joe Biden congratulated McCarthy on his election as House Speaker in a statement issued shortly before 1 a.m. ET.
"Jill and I congratulate Kevin McCarthy on his election as Speaker of the House," said Biden.
"I am prepared to work with Republicans when I can and voters made clear that they expect Republicans to be prepared to work with me as well," he added.
Despite Biden's cordial statement, he has made little secret this week of his concerns about how long it was taking Republicans to elect a speaker.
"I just think it's really embarrassing it's taking so long," Biden said Wednesday en route to Kentucky for an even with Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Ky.
The split screen images of Biden's bipartisan trip and McCarthy's chaotic vote-a-rama back in Washington drew widespread commentary, and Biden mentioned his trip again in his congratulatory statement on McCarthy.
"As the last two years show, we can do profound things for the country when we do them together," said Biden. "For example, this week I traveled to Kentucky to highlight the growing benefits that the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is bringing to communities all over the country."
As both Biden and McCarthy know well, McCarthy voted against the infrastructure bill, and several members of his caucus defied him to help get it passed in the House.
— Christina Wilkie
Opposition to McCarthy for speaker melts away as former 'no' voters cast 'present' ballots
The last vestiges of a once fierce opposition to McCarthy's House speakership by far-fight Republicans melted away shortly after midnight, when the last key holdouts voted "present" instead of casting ballots for another candidate.
Republican Reps. Eli Crane and Andy Biggs, both of Arizona, Matt Rosendale of Montana and Bob Good of Virginia all dropped their opposition to McCarthy in the 15th and final vote of the week by all voting "present" instead.
A vote of "present," while not an explicit endorsement, made it easier for McCarthy to win the majority of votes cast by effectively removing one former opposition vote.
The switches came after a remarkable confrontation following the 14th vote between McCarthy and Gaetz, who appeared to have decided at the last minute to pull his support from the party leader.
After days of failed votes and high-tension negotiations, McCarthy won 216 votes while all 212 Democrats voted unanimously for House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries. Six Republicans voted "present," including Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida and Lauren Boebert of Colorado.
— Christina Wilkie
GOP leader Kevin McCarthy elected House speaker on 15th vote
U.S. House Republican leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California was elected House speaker in a dramatic and historic 15th vote after midnight, ending four days of bitter intraparty battles among Republicans and putting to rest the question of whether McCarthy could ever unite his divided party with its razor-thin majority.
Now that McCarthy has been elected speaker, his first job will be to swear in the other 433 members of Congress, who have been trapped in limbo as members-elect since Tuesday, when the 118th Congress first opened.
While the vote is still open, McCarthy won more than half of the votes cast, giving him the gavel.
McCarthy's victory required him and his allies to make extraordinary concessions to a small bloc of far-right holdouts, many of whom had refused to support his speaker bid for months.
These included changes to House rules that empowered the House Freedom Caucus, a group of ultra conservative Republicans who have earned a reputation for rejecting consensus positions.
Once all the new members are sworn in, the House will move to approve the new package of rules that McCarthy negotiated.
— Christina Wilkie
House takes 15th speaker vote after dramatic confrontation between McCarthy and Gaetz
The House of Representatives recorded a 15th vote for speaker that began near midnight, the latest twist in an evening that has seen GOP leader Kevin McCarthy fail by one vote to be elected on his 14th try, and then approve, before rejecting, a motion to adjourn for the weekend.
The adjournment vote followed an unprecedented confrontation on the House floor between McCarthy and his allies and Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz, a longtime opponent of McCarthy's. Gaetz cast the decisive vote that denied the California lawmaker the speaker's gavel on the 14th ballot in four days.
Gaetz's last minute refusal to vote for McCarthy shocked the GOP leader and his team, and it came on the heels of comments Gaetz made on Fox News that strongly suggested he would back McCarthy for speaker.
"I'm very optimistic about where we are right now," Gaetz said ahead of the 10 p.m. vote. "I am excited and encouraged, I am grateful that speaker designate McCarthy has been so receptive to each and every change that we have demanded" Gaetz said, pointedly referring to McCarthy as "speaker-designate."
But Gaetz changed his mind at the last minute and voted "present" instead of backing McCarthy, tipping the scales against his party leader.
— Christina Wilkie
McCarthy fails to win majority in dramatic 14th House speaker vote
McCarthy failed yet again to secure the House speakership in his 14th try, a dramatic late-night vote in which several key Republican holdouts waited until the very end of the vote to announce their opposition.
Earlier in the day, Republicans had voted to adjourn until 10 p.m. ET to give two members of the caucus time to travel back to Washington and cast ballots for McCarthy, and to give McCarthy time to win over a final few holdouts.
The two recently returned lawmakers, Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado and Rep. Wesley Hunt of Texas both arrived during the vote and cast ballots for McCarthy to cheers from the caucus.
But it wasn't enough to overcome the McCarthy opponents who clung to their opposition: Reps. Andy Biggs, Eli Crane and Paul Gosar, all of Arizona, Matt Rosendale of Montana and Matt Gaetz of Florida.
— Christina Wilkie
McCarthy confronts Gaetz and Boebert on House floor in dramatic vote
McCarthy confronted Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., on the House floor after Gaetz cast his ballot as "present," waiting to vote until the end and withholding a decisive vote in a dramatic moment on the House floor.
Gaetz, from a seat on the floor, pointed his finger at McCarthy as Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-NC, tried to keep the GOP leader from walking away. McCarthy stormed off as other members stayed to talk with Gaetz and Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., who also voted present.
CNN reported that Gaetz asked to adjourn until Monday.
Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., was restrained by Rep. Richard Hudson, R-NC, after getting into an argument with Gaetz over the vote.
— Dawn Kopecki
McCarthy needs to flip at least two votes
McCarthy has been working all day to flip at least two out of about a half dozen key GOP holdouts.
Freshman Rep. Eli Crane of Arizona, who McCarthy hoped to win over, voted for Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona. Sophomore Rep. Matt Rosendale of Montana was most likely to switch his vote for McCarthy or to drop his opposition by voting present, four people familiar with the vote told NBC News.
Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert, who previously asked McCarthy to withdraw his nomination, told FOX News earlier Friday "we'll see where tonight goes." She dropped her opposition to McCarthy by voting "present."
Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, who appeared on Fox with Boebert, similarly wouldn't say how he would vote. He told Fox he's "running out of stuff to ask for" and called McCarthy the "Speaker-Designate."
McCarthy needs to win over more than half of the lawmakers who are voting in person on the floor, so at least 216 or 217 votes, depending on how many lawmakers made it back to the Capitol. With 214 votes in the last ballot, he needs to flip at least two lawmakers.
The vote is currently underway.
— Dawn Kopecki
New negotiated House rules package released just hours before late night speaker vote
A new package of proposed House rules for the 118th Congress was released just hours ahead of what many Republicans anticipated would be a final vote to elect Republican Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, Calif., as a new House speaker.
The posted package is the first time the public has had an opportunity to see many of the of the concessions that McCarthy has made to a far-right bloc of members who have denied him the votes needed to clinch the gavel for four day.
The 12-page package includes new rules that, if the package passes, would significantly cut the federal government budget next year, establish several new panels to investigate Republican priorities, raise the vote threshold needed to approve tax increases from a simple majority up to a super majority, and lower the threshold needed to force a no confidence vote in the speaker.
It was unclear Friday night whether the rules package would pass however. McCarthy has a very slim majority, and at least one Republican member and military veteran has already said he would vote against it.
Read the new rules here.
— Christina Wilkie
House lawmakers return to Capitol for 14th speaker vote
The U.S. House of Representatives reconvened at 10 p.m. ET for its 14th vote to elect a new speaker after McCarthy has scrambled behind the scenes all week to win over a bloc of hardline Republicans that have denied him the gavel all week.
Lawmakers have been told to prepare for a late and long night and to remain on the floor of the House chamber until they elect a new speaker, after which the new Congress will be sworn in.
To win over the far right Freedom Caucus, McCarthy has reportedly agreed to new budget restrictions as well as rules that will allow lawmakers to more easily remove a future House Speaker.
Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-NC, opened the session by formally nominating McCarthy to serve as speaker.
— Dawn Kopecki
A look at the final GOP holdouts McCarthy hopes to sway
Six GOP members-elect remained opposed to McCarthy as he sought to secure enough support late Friday to become the next speaker of the House.
Supporters were working to win a couple of them over, which would almost certainly give McCarthy the majority he needs to finally win the job after four days of voting and the most rounds of ballots for a House speaker since before the Civil War.
The six have been quite critical of McCarthy, though about-faces are not uncommon in Washington. Even if some vote present, it could give McCarthy the margin he needs to win.
A look at the holdouts:
Andy Biggs of Arizona is the former chairman of the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus. He not only challenged McCarthy during an initial, internal GOP vote for House speaker, but he was also a nominee himself in the first round of voting Tuesday. He won only 10 votes.
Biggs was reelected to a fourth term in the House after serving 14 years in the Arizona Legislature. In Congress, he's built a reputation as a staunch supporter of Donald Trump and as a border enforcement hawk, filing articles of impeachment in the last Congress against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. McCarthy took up the cause in his push to become House speaker, saying that if Mayorkas didn't resign, GOP-led investigations could lead to impeachment proceedings.
Biggs was also one of four lawmakers referred to the House Ethics Committee after they defied subpoenas from the House panel that investigated the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection.
Matt Gaetz of Florida has been perhaps McCarthy's most strident critic, to the point that Rep. Mike Bost, R-Ill, jumped up and chided Gaetz on the House floor for his harsh denunciations of McCarthy during Friday's debate. Gaetz has consistently depicted McCarthy as a Washington insider, calling McCarthy "the LeBron James of special interest fundraising in this town."
Gaetz is a close ally of Trump who broke with him early when it comes to McCarthy. The House Ethics Committee announced an investigation into Gaetz in April as federal prosecutors probed sex trafficking allegations against him. Gaetz has vehemently denied any wrongdoing.
"If you want to drain the swamp, you cannot put the biggest alligator in charge of the exercise," Gaetz said of McCarthy.
Lauren Boebert of Colorado is another Trump loyalist who established herself as a partisan rabble-rouser in Washington during her first term. She won a second term this year in a race that was much closer than expected, as her aggressive use of social media and willingness to engage in personal feuds was put to the test against a Democratic challenger who presented himself as a nonpartisan problem solver.
Boebert noted this week that "her favorite president," a reference to Trump, has called on the anti-McCarthy holdouts to "knock this off," but suggested an alternative.
"I think it actually needs to be reversed. The president needs to tell Kevin McCarthy, 'Sir, you do not have the votes and it's time to withdraw,'" she said.
Bob Good of Virginia won office in 2020 after GOP voters ousted the Republican incumbent, Denver Riggleman, who had angered social conservatives by officiating a gay marriage.
Good, a former athletics official at evangelical Liberty University, was one of the first to say he would be opposing McCarthy, and that opposition continued into Friday when he wrote an op-ed in The New York Times declaring that he won't back down.
"Throughout this process, one thing has become clear: Kevin McCarthy has failed to secure the trust of the entire Republican conference to be the leader who will fight to change the status quo in Washington. It is time for Republicans to move on," Good wrote.
Matt Rosendale of Montana is entering his second term in the House and says his constituents are lobbying him to change the leadership in Congress. He has backed former Trump's false statements about fraud in the 2020 election and recently voted against U.S. support for Ukraine in its war against Russia, citing what he said are more pressing security needs along the southern border.
"I've said all along I'm not going to be supporting anyone for speaker that has played a part in the leadership team that has managed the demise of our country over the last 10 years," Rosendale said.
Eli Crane of Utah is a former Navy SEAL who went on five wartime deployments and served for 13 years. In November, he defeated the Democratic incumbent, Tom O'Halleran, who had held the seat since 2017. He was the lone Republican freshman on Friday to refuse support for McCarthy.
Crane has run a small business turning spent machine gun ammunition into bottle openers and had the endorsement of Trump. He focused his campaign on securing the U.S.-Mexico border and election integrity.
— Associated Press
McCarthy backer encouraged by increasing support for the GOP leader
Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn., said he was pleased with House Republicans' growing support for McCarthy after days of closed-door negotiations.
"I feel very optimistic after today and after the conversations, I was privileged to have with some people who had not been able to vote for Kevin who got on board for Kevin," the Tennessee Republican told reporters outside the House chamber.
Fleischmann said he spoke with Reps. Andy Ogles, R-Tenn., and Andy Harris, R-Md., whom he called "dear friends."
"They got to yes as did other people," he said. "I don't want to say that I would take full credit for that but they got on board and I'm very very pleased I think that's beneficial."
McCarthy picked up 14 new votes Friday for a total of 214 before the House adjourned until 10 p.m.
— Chelsey Cox
House Democratic Whip tells lawmakers to prepare for late night
House Minority Whip Katherine Clark, D-Mass., told lawmakers to prepare for a late night if McCarthy wins the much coveted gavel.
Here's the memo she sent to the Democratic caucus ahead of the House's votes later tonight:
All Members should be present on the Floor at 10:00 p.m. for votes.
Tonight, following the Prayer and Pledge of Allegiance, the next order of business is for the House to vote on the 14th Manual Roll Call Vote on the election of the Speaker of the House. If the Speaker is elected and receives the Oath of Office, they will administer the Oath to Members and Delegates. Members are advised that additional votes are possible if no candidate receives 218 votes.
If the Speaker is elected and Members are sworn in, it is expected the House would begin one hour of debate on H.Res. __ – Adopting the Rules of the 118th Congress, and for other purposes.
Following debate on the Rules Package, at approximately 1:45 – 2:15 a.m., the House would take votes on the Previous Question, Motion to Commit, and adoption of the Rules Package. These would be the last votes for the day.
Members are reminded that they should be prepared to stay in Washington, D.C. until a Speaker is elected.
— Dawn Kopecki
House Democrats condemn GOP stalemate over speaker selection
House Democrats have been vocal about the drawn-out voting process for U.S. House speaker, which is set to enter its 14th round later Friday night. The House adjourned after GOP leader McCarthy again failed to meet the required threshold to earn the speakership.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash, told CNBC that the Republicans' inability to elect a speaker "means that all of the things that are in front of us that we still have to do are also going to be very, very difficult."
"We need to be able to get to work we need to be able to do the things that our constituents expect us to do," Jayapal said during the 12th round of voting. "And this is a remarkable exercise in dysfunction, chaos."
Democrats have consistently voted unanimously for New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries throughout the process. Freshman Congressman-elect Maxwell Frost, D-Fla., who cannot be sworn in until a speaker is chosen, told CNBC that he wakes up in the middle of the night to say: "Jeffries."
"The thing that's not being talked about enough is that this is pausing our constituent services and our ability to be able to help people with Medicare, Medicaid, veterans, everything like that," said Frost, who represents a district recently affected by two hurricanes. "And so we're just figuring out how do we get around that to help people anyways."
McCarthy's deal with far-right GOP holdouts would tie debt ceiling increase to dramatic cuts in federal spending
House Republican holdouts who switched their votes to back GOP leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy for speaker after weeks of opposing him are touting what they say is a historic deal reached with the California Republican that will fulfill their longtime goals of radically reducing federal spending.
The deal specifically pledges to adopt a House budget resolution that caps fiscal year 2024 discretionary spending at or below FY 2022 levels, Rep. Scott Perry, Penn., told reporters outside the House chamber.
It also ties House passage of an upcoming debt ceiling increase to the adoption of the budget resolution.
"We don't want clean debt ceilings to just go through and just keep paying the bill without some counteractive effort to control spending," said Perry. "We control the power of the purse."
Another Republican flip, Rep. Mary Miller of Illinois touted the deal in a tweet.
The concessions to far-right holdouts were enough to net McCarthy an additional 15 votes for speaker on Friday, breaking a stalemate that had gone on for three days.
— Christina Wilkie
House adjourns until 10 p.m. ET as McCarthy hunts for the last few speaker votes he needs to win
The U.S. House of Representatives narrowly approved 220-212 a motion to adjourn until 10 p.m. ET Friday, after Republican leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy lost his bid for speaker of the House for a 13th time.
The break offered McCarthy and his allies time to lobby a final few holdouts he needs to win the speaker's gavel, after a day during which McCarthy's luck dramatically turned.
After three days of consistently falling 20 votes short of the threshold he needed to win the speakership, 14 of these holdout members signed on to a framework deal with party leaders that represented a major concession by McCarthy to the demands of this small group of far-right holdouts.
— Christina Wilkie
McCarthy loses 13th speaker vote, but inches closer to winning the gavel
House Republican leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy has lost the13th attempt to be elected House speaker.
But in the process, the California lawmaker gained another new vote from a former holdout, Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland, putting McCarthy the closest he has been so far to clinching the gavel.
The 13th vote came on the heels of a striking change in McCarthy's fortunes earlier in the afternoon, when 14 former Republican holdouts switched their votes to back him after days of voting for other candidates.
The 13th vote was also the first time this week that no Republican has stood up to formally nominate an alternative candidate to McCarthy, another sign that McCarthy and his allies are slowly wearing down the opposition.
Republicans have been deep in negotiations for the past 24 hours on a deal that appears to be winning over these far-right members of his caucus.
— Christina Wilkie
Democratic Rep. David Trone returns from surgery to cast House speaker vote, raising the bar for McCarthy
After missing the first House speaker vote of the day to undergo hand surgery, Maryland Democratic Rep. David Trone raced back to the Capitol in time to cast a ballot in the 13th House speaker vote of the week.
Trone's speedy return was bad news for McCarthy, because it raised the total number of votes being cast for speaker, and along with it, the total number McCarthy needs to win a majority and the speaker's gavel.
While Trone was absent, there were only 431 members voting, meaning McCarthy could have clinched the speakership with 216. Now that Trone has returned, McCarthy will need 217.
— Christina WIlkie
13th House speaker vote begins with fresh momentum for McCarthy
House GOP leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy was all smiles on the House floor as the chamber began its 13th vote for speaker, after the California Republican picked up 14 new votes in the previous ballot, reenergizing his embattled bid for the speaker's gavel.
McCarthy entered the 13th vote in four days expected to win at least 213 votes out of the 431 total members, only four votes shy of the 217 to win a majority of the ballots being cast Friday afternoon.
McCarthy was nominated by Oklahoma Republican Rep. James Comer, who is in line to chair the House Oversight Committee in the 118th Congress.
Following Comer's speech, McCarthy moved off the floor, potentially to take part in the final negotiations with some of the seven remaining Republican holdouts.
— Christina Wilkie
Final tally of 12th House speaker vote reflects 14 new votes for McCarthy
In a surprise reversal of fortune, House Republican leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, Calif., emerged from the 12th vote for House speaker with 213 votes, 14 of them from cast by former GOP holdouts who had refused to support him just a day before.
According to the House clerk, incoming Democratic Minority leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries received 211 votes, one less than he had received on every speaker vote so far.
The drop in Jeffries' number was due to the unexpected absence of Maryland Democratic Rep. David Trone, whose spokeswoman said the lawmaker was unable to attend the vote due to a previously scheduled surgery.
The seven remaining Republican McCarthy holdouts split their votes between two alternative nominees, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Rep. Kevin Hern of Oklahoma.
The next challenge for McCarthy and his lieutenants is to peel off three of the remaining seven holdouts, all of whom are longtime opponents of the Republican leader.
Despite McCarthy's progress, he still fell short of capturing more than half of the available votes. With 431 members voting, he would need a minimum of 216 ballots to win.
According to the House press gallery, members have been advised to prepare for a 13th speaker vote shortly.
— Christina Wilkie
McCarthy wins new support in 12th ballot, but not enough to clinch speakership
House Republican leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy was on his way to losing the 12th House vote for speaker, despite having flipped several key holdouts.
On Thursday, 20 Republican members opposed his speakership, a seemingly insurmountable number.
By Friday, at least 5 Republicans had shifted to backing McCarthy. While the vote is currently underway, McCarthy has already lost six votes, making it nearly impossible for him to secure the speakership.
It was unclear whether the House would move immediately to a 13th vote, but Republican energy was palpable on the House floor.
— Christina Wilkie
McCarthy picks up 14 new votes for House speaker, shifting the momentum in his favor
GOP Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California won votes from more than a dozen former Republican holdouts in the first ballot for House speaker, prompting standing ovations from McCarthy's supporters on the House floor.
Reps. Dan Bishop, N.C., Josh Brecheen, Okla., Byron Donalds, Fla., Andrew Clyde, Ga., Paul Gosar, Ariz., Anna Paulina Luna, Fla., Mike Cloud, Texas, Nancy Miller, Ill., Ralph Norman, S.C., Andrew Ogles, Tenn., Scott Perry, Penn., Keith Self and Chip Roy, both of Texas, have all cast votes for McCarthy, after having supported other candidates in previous votes earlier this week.
Rep. Victoria Spartz of Indiana, who voted "present" on Thursday, also formally backed McCarthy.
The vote is still underway, but the fresh support breathed new life into McCarthy's embattled speaker bid.
— Christina Wilkie
McCarthy predicts 'improvement' on fourth day of run for speaker's gavel
House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy expressed optimism heading into his fourth straight day of votes to become speaker of the House.
"I feel good," McCarthy told NBC News' Garrett Haake shortly before entering the House chamber early Friday afternoon.
"I think you're gonna see an improvement in the vote today," McCarthy said, while noting that "unfortunately" some Republican members who would likely be voting for him have left the Capitol.
They include Rep. Wesley Hunt, R-Texas, who flew home this morning to be with his wife and newborn child, NBC reported.
Asked about a possible deal being discussed earlier in the day, McCarthy offered vague details.
"Well, it's things that we've been talking about. It's got a rule package we've talked about over there. I think it makes us only stronger in the long run," he said.
McCarthy expressed confidence that all House Republicans, including the roughly 20 members who have consistently opposed him, are interested in "getting this done."
And he pushed back on the notion that the fractured House GOP may not be ready to govern. "No, no, you know, my father always told me one thing — It's not how you start, it's how you finish," he said.
— Kevin Breuninger
12th speaker vote is underway amid rumors of a deal with McCarthy holdouts
The 12th vote for House speaker is underway after California GOP Rep. Mike Garcia nominated the embattled McCarthy, also of California.
In his speech, Garcia emphasized that the vote is not "about Kevin McCarthy," it's about all Americans.
While there are rumors of a deal to win over some McCarthy's holdouts, no firm details have emerged, and McCarthy is not expected to clinch a majority of the votes on this first ballot of the day.
Outgoing Democratic Whip Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina has nominated the incoming Minority Leader, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, N.Y., who has consistently received unanimous support from all 212 Democrats in every vote.
Clyburn opened his remarks by thanking the House clerk, who has unofficially presided over the chamber all week. Clyburn's thanks prompted a standing ovation from Democrats and Republicans.
— Christina Wilkie
U.S. House Clerk opens Friday's session
The U.S. House Clerk Cheryl Johnson gaveled the congregation in session at noon for a prayer before lawmakers begin a historic 12th round of votes to elect a new speaker.
McCarthy is still pursuing the speakership after failing to reach the required 218 votes during the previous 11 voting sessions. Democratic opponent Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York is expected to maintain the full backing of his party.
Dark horse candidates could include Florida GOP Rep. Byron Donalds, who was first nominated Wednesday as the first Black Republican contestant for the speaker role, and Oklahoma Republican Rep. Kevin Hern. Hern threw his support behind McCarthy on Thursday.
Former President Donald Trump, nominated by Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., on Thursday, could also grab another surprise vote.
GOP absences in the House could alter the math for McCarthy
As the House speaker battle drags into its fourth day, at least two Republicans will be absent for at least part of the day, potentially altering the vote math.
GOP Rep. Wesley Hunt of Texas flew home this morning, Fox News reports. Hunt's wife gave birth to a baby boy on Monday.
Republican Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado missed votes late Thursday, reportedly due to a medical appointment.
A spokesman for Buck confirmed to CNBC that Buck is "expected back in DC this evening," but not in time for today's afternoon votes.
Both Hunt and Buck have voted for McCarthy all week, so their absences compound his challenge. If McCarthy fails to win any new votes, he would then be on track to win 199 out of a total of 431, presuming Rep. Victoria Sparz again votes "present," but doesn't cast a ballot.
With 431 total voting members, the new magic number to win the speakership becomes 216. McCarthy would still fall short, but it would potentially shrink the number of holdouts he would need to win.
But it would also put Democratic Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York, who has won every Democratic vote all week, just four votes away from winning the speakership.
— Christina Wilkie
McCarthy's chances improve after GOP negotiations, but still no deal
McCarthy was optimistic during a GOP-wide conference call Friday morning, but the fractured party still hasn't reached a deal to hand the Republican leader a win, NBC reports.
"I'm not telling you we have an agreement," McCarthy said, according to two people on the call. "We're in a good position and having meetings."
Texas Rep. Chip Roy currently leads a faction committed to bringing McCarthy more votes, though the exact number they have swayed is not known. Though a win is not guaranteed, the party leader has reportedly inched closer toward the speakership.
— Chelsey Cox
Speaker battle paralyzes all activity in the House
The longer the infighting on Capitol Hill delays the election of a new House Speaker, the more havoc it will wreak on the federal government.
While it doesn't necessarily pose an imminent threat to the U.S. economy, it paralyzes all action on the Hill. That could be especially detrimental if the nation were to face a major catastrophe that needed quick congressional votes or approval on emergency spending, as it did in the Sept. 11th attacks or during the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic.
As of Friday, the chamber could not pass legislation or respond to a national emergency.
Representatives-elect across the country cannot set up their offices or provide formal services for constituents until they are sworn into the new Congress by the speaker. That includes help with receiving federal benefits or recovering missing payments from the government.
Without a speaker, the House can't vote on a rules package governing the new Congress. The stalemate has stopped Republicans from installing their committee chairs, holding hearings or conducting regular oversight of the executive branch and industry.
If the House does not pass rules by Jan. 13, committee staff could start to lose pay, according to guidance sent to those panels reported by Politico.
Democrats also emphasized that the absence of a speaker was threatening U.S. national security by keeping members of Congress from accessing classified intelligence that is only available to lawmakers after they have taken the oath of office, which none of them can take without a speaker.
— Jacob Pramuk
Hern, Donalds floated as alternatives to McCarthy
GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy's chances of winning the speakership dimmed on Thursday after Republicans pushed for two alternate candidates: Florida Rep. Byron Donalds and Oklahoma Rep. Kevin Hern
Donalds, who was the only Black candidate, was first nominated on Wednesday while Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Co., offered Hern's name Thursday. Hern chairs the powerful Republican Study Committee while Donalds sat on the powerful budget and oversight committees during the last congressional session.
Both fell far short of gaining a competitive share of the votes — Donalds and Hern grabbed 12 and 7, respectively, compared with 200 for McCarthy and 212 for Democratic challenger Rep. Hakeem Jeffries — but the final tally placed the coveted role further from McCarthy's grasp. A 12th round of voting is expected to take place Friday at noon.
— Chelsey Cox
Anniversary of Jan. 6 Capitol riot looms over McCarthy's struggle for House speaker
Republican House leader Kevin McCarthy's protracted struggle for the House speaker's gavel has now overlapped with the second anniversary of the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot.
The insurrection by a violent mob of then-President Donald Trump's supporters forced lawmakers in the House and Senate to flee their chambers, impeding the transfer of power from Trump to now-President Joe Biden.
McCarthy had initially blamed Trump for the attack, saying the president "bears responsibility" even as he opposed Democrats' efforts to impeach Trump for a second time. But McCarthy soon walked back that criticism, and that same month visited Trump and posed with him for a smiling photo.
Trump has in recent days urged the faction of House Republican defectors to back McCarthy for speaker. But although the group of far-right lawmakers are highly supportive of Trump — GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz even voted for Trump for House speaker in two of McCarthy's failed votes — they have not acquiesced to his demand.
Some Democrats are linking the current Capitol chaos to the radicalism that led to the 2021 riot.
"Unfortunately, the utter pandemonium wrought by House Republicans this week is just one more example of how the extreme fringe of their party, led by election deniers, is pulling them further into chaos and making it impossible for them to govern," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a statement Friday morning.
Biden is set to attend a ceremony at the White House at 2 p.m. ET marking the two-year anniversary of the insurrection. He will be joined by Vice President Kamala Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff.
— Kevin Breuninger