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House vote on president enters second day

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WASHINGTON — Representative Kevin McCarthy of California grabbed the votes he needs to become president on Wednesday after failing three times to win the job, as Republicans entered their second day in control of the House without a leader and deadlocked. on how to move forward in the midst of a far-right rebellion.

Successive defeats for Mr McCarthy on Tuesday marked the first time in a century that the House failed to elect a speaker on the first roll-call vote, and it was unclear how or when the deadlock would be resolved. After adjourning abruptly on Tuesday without a leader, the House was due to reconvene at noon Wednesday to try to break the deadlock.

The Republican leader and his allies were working behind closed doors to try to get the votes. McCarthy said he spoke to former President Donald J. Trump, who backed him but remained silent on Tuesday throughout his humiliating House losing streak.

“Great conversations took place last night, and now is the time for all of our GREAT Republican Members of the House to VOTE FOR KEVIN,” Mr. Trump wrote in a social media post on Wednesday. He pleaded with Republicans not to “turn a great triumph into a giant, embarrassing defeat.”

“Kevin McCarthy will do a great job, and maybe even a GREAT JOB – JUST WATCH!” Mr. Trump added.

For now, a mutiny led by ultra-conservative lawmakers who for weeks kept their vow to oppose Mr McCarthy has paralyzed the chamber at the dawn of Republican rule, delaying the swearing-in of hundreds of members of Congress, postponing all legislative work and exposing deep divisions that threatened to render the party majority in the House ungovernable.

Mr McCarthy has vowed not to back down until he wins the presidency, raising the prospect of a grueling series of votes that could last for days.

“I’m staying until we win,” McCarthy told reporters between the second and third votes on Tuesday. “I know the way.”

House precedent dictates that members keep voting until someone gets the majority needed to win. But until Tuesday, the House had failed to elect a speaker in the first roll-call vote since 1923, when the election had stretched to nine ballots.

It was unclear how long it would take Republicans to resolve their stalemate this time around, or whether Mr McCarthy had a strategy for coming back from an embarrassing round of repudiations. His supporters suggested he was prepared to drag out the process for a while, acknowledging that his political career was at stake.

“I think Kevin knows this is his last shot, and so he’s going to play as long as he can,” said Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado, who voted three times for Mr. McCarthy on Tuesday. “He pulled out once to get that chance. He won’t have that chance anymore. »

No viable challenger has emerged, but if Mr. McCarthy continues to flounder, Republicans could shift their votes to an alternative, such as his No. 2 Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana.

On Tuesday, right-wing Republicans rallied behind Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, a founding member of the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus, as an alternative to Mr. McCarthy, but Mr. Jordan, a former rival who has since allied to Mr. McCarthy, pleaded with his colleagues to unite behind the California Republican instead.

But the party has so far refused to do so. Tuesday’s failed votes publicly showed the extent of the opposition Mr McCarthy faces. With all members of the House present and voting, Mr. McCarthy must receive 218 votes to become president, leaving little room for Republican defections since the party controls only 222 seats.

He failed again and again, garnering no more than 203 votes – well short of a majority and less than the votes received by Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York, the Democratic leader whose caucus remained united behind him.

Emily Cochrane and Annie Karni contributed report.

nytimes Gt

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