Explained: What’s happening with the House speaker election?

For the initial vote, a speaker was not chosen for the very first instance in a century. The U.S. House assembled for a subsequent day to select a fresh Speaker in a momentous twist of circumstances.

Rep. Byron Donalds, a Republican from Florida, provided McCarthy with a contender by garnering support from his party members in the Freedom Caucus. Meanwhile, Democrat Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York requires the support of his fellow colleagues to secure the necessary 218 votes to be elected as the Speaker of the House.

However, Kevin McCarthy, the GOP leader, emerged as the resulting control under the Republican factions in the House of Representatives, after three unsuccessful rounds of voting on Wednesday. Despite not having enough support to win the speakership outright, McCarthy was still there early Wednesday afternoon and tried again, but the fourth vote failed.

Mike Viqueira, the Chief of the D.C. Bureau at NewsNation, explains the sequence of events that have brought Congress to this point and provides insight into what can be expected in the future.

Q: Why is it significant that the House of Representatives cannot select a speaker?

According to Viqueira, if there is no speaker present, “Nobody can take an oath, nobody can collaborate.” He additionally stated, “Committees do not exist and they are incapable of hiring staff.”

Basically, members of the House are preventing the government from continuing to operate and discussing the current issues, he stated.

Q: Why can’t Democrats and Republicans simply reach a compromise on a candidate for the position of House Speaker?

According to Viqueira, that’s simply not how the House of Representatives operates.

“The residence is a strongly biased, what they refer to as a majoritarian establishment — the majority always governs,” he clarified.

This didn’t just begin recently, Viqueira stated. It has been the manner in which the House has operated since the 19th century.

Viqueira expressed, “We are currently in unfamiliar territory.” “The Speaker of the House, if a member of the opposing party, would vote differently than these poker enthusiasts who act blindly and hastily.”

The debacle of the Speaker not looking good appears to be a consensus within both the GOP and the widespread media, as other political players and the GOP itself seem to agree. Viqueira notably mentioned that no Democrat, other than New York’s Democratic leader Jeffries Hakeem, voted for anyone else to be the Speaker.

FILE – Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., talks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, on Nov. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

Viqueira stated, “If your enemy is hanging in a party, then just give enough rope and stand back and watch them, especially in politics, in the national legislature here in ‘Congress, the adage is.”

Viqueira stated, “the event” in the House, we wonder why there is no clear support for McCarthy as the speaker, those who oppose him do not show any signs of backing down.

He added, “Once again, they start over and almost reach the bottom, only to fall back down. Then, they continue to push the rock up the hill, facing an endless and futile struggle – just like Sisyphus.”

Q: Is there a restriction on the number of times the House can cast a vote?

There is no restriction on the number of votes that can be cast.

According to the Washington Post, it required a duration of two months for Gillette to secure his re-election on the ninth ballot. Viqueira highlighted the fact that Frederick Gillett, a representative from Massachusetts and eventual Speaker in 1923, stood out as the only Speaker after several attempts.

“Democracy continues to progress,” he stated. “Consider the positive aspect. Nobody is asserting that the votes have been manipulated.”

Q: What would need to occur for Democrats to secure the position?

It is even possible that voting for a Democratic Speaker could be political suicide for Republicans in the House, and it is unlikely. While Jeffries is getting close to the number of votes he needs to become Speaker in the fourth round of voting, he is still six votes short of the required 218.

But a Republican majority? Viqueira inquired, “What would that scenario entail? Who would assume the role of committee chairperson if a Democratic Speaker were in place but a Republican majority persisted? Once again, it is worth noting the substantial authority vested in the Speaker of the House. This is precisely what fuels the ire of these defiant MAGA-Republicans.”

Q: Why does McCarthy persist?

According to Viqueira, he believes there is a probability of “less than a 50% chance” for this event to occur. He argues that it is equally likely for Kevin McCarthy to be elected as the speaker, as the ultimate outcome remains uncertain.

Viqueira expressed, “It’s quite an achievement,” — the speech made by McCarthy Kevin on the House floor had the longest duration.” Viqueira further commented, “Until McCarthy is elected as the speaker, he will continue to speak as long as he wants.”

Speaker, in the last several weeks, Scalise has remained loyal to McCarthy, even though Viqueira said that Scalise, from Louisiana, is the second-in-command in line to be the majority leader.

Viqueira stated, “I believe that Kevin McCarthy is going to lose in this race, and I think he’s determined to stay until the end. It’s not a predetermined conclusion.”