January 5, 2023 GOP deadlocked over House speaker vote

By Aditi Sangal, Adrienne Vogt, Maureen Chowdhury and Elise Hammond, CNN

Updated 9:41 a.m. ET, January 6, 2023
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6:25 p.m. ET, January 5, 2023

This is now the longest House speaker contest in 164 years

Analysis by CNN's Zachary B. Wolf

A tally sheet of votes is seen in the House chamber on Thursday.
A tally sheet of votes is seen in the House chamber on Thursday. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

We can't call it the longest House speaker contest in 100 years anymore. Now that we're through nine ballots, tying the 1923 process, it's the longest contest in 164 years, since the Congress during which states began seceding from the Union to kick off the Civil War.

It will take a long time to break any more records. The 1859 speaker contest went to 44 ballots before Rep. William Pennington, a Republican from New Jersey, won the post. An anomaly, Pennington only served in one Congress, the one where he was speaker, and lost a bid for reelection. He's one of just three speakers to be thrown out of office by voters.

The US House of 1859 was a very different place. Pennington's Republicans had the most members, with 116. But they did not have a majority of the 238 total members. There were also 83 Democrats, 19 Opposition Party members, eight Anti-Lecompton Democrats, seven Independent Democrats and five members of the American Party.

In the following Congress, which started in 1861, after Southern states seceded, House membership went down from 238 to 183 and Republicans had a very strong majority.

Here's how this House speaker vote compares to those of the past:

5:18 p.m. ET, January 5, 2023

In addition to McCarthy, these 3 lawmakers were nominated for House speaker

GOP Reps. Byron Donalds and Kevin Hern and Democratic Rep. Hakeem Jeffries were nominated for House speaker in the 10th round of voting, along with Kevin McCarthy.

In Rep. Anna Paulina Luna's speech nominating Donalds, she said that "Byron through this entire time has done something I think most leaders should do more of, and that is listen. Respect people when they're talking. Understand the needs of the American people. Be willing to take negotiations but also too to realize when is a proper time to stand your ground on certain things."

Rep. Lauren Boebert again threw Hern's name into the ring, calling him "a true leader" who can unify the conference.

Jeffries was again put forward on the Democratic side by Rep. Pete Aguilar.

Democrats are telling their members to prepare for a potentially long night, per a senior Democratic aide. 

CNN's Lauren Fox contributed reporting to this post.

5:06 p.m. ET, January 5, 2023

NOW: House voting on 10th speaker ballot

From CNN staff

The House is now voting to elect a speaker — for the tenth time. This tenth round makes this the longest speaker contest in 164 years.

Aside from Kevin McCarthy, Reps. Byron Donalds and Kevin Hern have also been nominated again in this round.

5:07 p.m. ET, January 5, 2023

McCarthy nominated for 10th House speaker ballot

From CNN staff

Rep.-elect Juan Ciscomani nominates Rep. Kevin McCarthy in the 10th round of voting for House speaker.
Rep.-elect Juan Ciscomani nominates Rep. Kevin McCarthy in the 10th round of voting for House speaker. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Rep. Kevin McCarthy has now been nominated in the 10th round of voting as the House works to break a stalemate and elect a new speaker. He was nominated by Rep.-elect Juan Ciscomani.

Ciscomani said McCarthy “cares about the American people. He cares about our country.”

"That has been laid out in his commitment to America. To fight for an economy that is strong, a nation that is safe, a future that is built on freedom, and a government that is accountable. This I can strongly get behind," he said.

Ciscomani talked about his family coming to the United States from Mexico, saying, "I trust Kevin to fight for that American dream."

Ciscomani will be the first Latino Republican elected to Congress from Arizona. Ciscomani previously worked at the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and was a senior adviser to Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey.

Ongoing stalemate: McCarthy has come up short for the last nine ballots, despite making more concessions to hardliners. Two other Republicans — Rep. Byron Donalds and Rep. Kevin Hern — were also nominated during the last vote in opposition to McCarthy.

4:51 p.m. ET, January 5, 2023

JUST IN: McCarthy defeated in 9th House speaker ballot

From CNN's Annie Grayer, Kristin Wilson and Clare Foran 

Kevin McCarthy was defeated again in the ninth round of voting for House speaker after he lost multiple votes to Reps. Byron Donalds and Kevin Hern. A tenth round would be the longest speaker contest in 164 years.

McCarthy still had 20 total GOP lawmakers voting against him, and GOP Rep. Victoria Spartz voted present again. Rep. Ken Buck, who has supported McCarthy, did not vote this round. Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries had the unanimous support of his caucus.

The final tally was:

  • 212 for Jeffries
  • 200 for McCarthy
  • 17 for Donalds
  • 3 for Hern
  • 1 present vote

Remember: No member of the new Congress can be sworn in to office without a speaker of the House voted in. A group of hardline Republicans have so far derailed McCarthy's bid to become House speaker — even after McCarthy reportedly proposed major concessions late Wednesday.

4:47 p.m. ET, January 5, 2023

GOP representative: "We're going to be doing this for a long time"

House clerk Cheryl Johnson, center, reads the results of a vote for Speaker of the House on Thursday.
House clerk Cheryl Johnson, center, reads the results of a vote for Speaker of the House on Thursday. (Eric Lee/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

GOP Rep. Don Bacon of Nebraska, a Kevin McCarthy supporter, told CNN that the speaker vote process could go on "for a long time."

"These folks do not know how to get to yes. They've been offered every concession, or met every concession. They just don't know how to get to yes. It's an embarrassment to them, our party, the House and our country. I think there is totalitarian states out there, look at those 20 and say this is why we don't want democracy. That's an embarrassment. ... We're going to be doing this for a long time," he said.

He said he just came out of a meeting with 80 to 90 members who he called "Main Street Republicans."

"We said if you're not committed to do this to the very end, go ahead and just leave. ... But every single one said we're here until the very end. We cannot allow 20 people to hold us hostage, act as political terrorists. ... There is a large group that are in this until the end. And I believe that Kevin McCarthy is not going to back down," Bacon added.

Bacon also predicted that the group of about 20 who oppose McCarthy will get smaller, and he said that Republicans may work with Democrats on the process.

"We need to consider at some point how we're going to work across the aisle if this small group will not cooperate. There is some concessions that the other side will want and there may be some grounds that we can provide a more bipartisan structure this this House and eventually get to 218," he said.

4:30 p.m. ET, January 5, 2023

Here's a list of items that are stalled until a House speaker is elected

From CNN's Jack Forrest

The Capitol is seen amid cloudy skies early on Thursday.
The Capitol is seen amid cloudy skies early on Thursday. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

House Republicans’ failure to elect a speaker after days of voting has frozen business in the chamber. Here's a list of what's stalled as the stalemate continues:

No oversight: “The Biden administration is going unchecked and there is no oversight of the White House, State Department, Department of Defense, or the intelligence community. We cannot let personal politics place the safety and security of the United States at risk,” the incoming chairs of several committees, including foreign affairs and armed services, said in a statement released on Thursday morning.

No clearance for sensitive and classified information: GOP Rep. Mike Gallagher said he was denied from entering a meeting with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff because he was informed by House security that he doesn’t yet have a clearance.

GOP Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick said: “I sit on the House Intelligence Committee. We oversee all 19 intelligence agencies. We are currently offline.”

No House rules: Every new Congress must pass a new set of House rules, so without a speaker to oversee adoption of those rules, none will technically exist.

No payment for staff: Without an approved House Rules package by the end of business on Jan. 13, committees also won’t be able to pay staff, according to a letter sent last week by the committee in charge of administrative matters, which was first reported by Politico and obtained by CNN. The same memo warned that student loan payments for committee staff wouldn’t be disbursed if a rules package isn’t adopted by mid-January.

But members-elect will get paid: Per precedents of the chamber, the pay period for members-elect still starts on Jan. 3, even if the first session of Congress begins after that dateas long as their credentials have been filed with the House clerk.

No legislating: For committees whose chairs aren’t known, they will be headed up in the interim by the committee’s senior-most Republican who also served on the panel in the last Congress, according to the letter sent last week. But there will be no legislating to amend and approve bills before they make their way to the floor for a vote. That means Republicans may also have to wait before tackling some of their priorities, including investigations into President Joe Biden’s administration and family.

CNN’s Zachary B. Wolf, Ali Zaslav, Ted Barrett, Melanie Zanona, Lauren Fox, Clare Foran, Manu Raju, Morgan Rimmer, Andrea Cambron, Shawna Mizelle and Kaanita Iyer contributed reporting to this post.

4:42 p.m. ET, January 5, 2023

McHenry calls current talks over speakership most hopeful in weeks — but says "we still have miles to go"

From CNN's Morgan Rimmer

Rep. Patrick McHenry, center, talks to fellow House members on Thursday.
Rep. Patrick McHenry, center, talks to fellow House members on Thursday. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

GOP Rep. Patrick McHenry, leaving the ongoing meeting in Rep. Tom Emmer's office, told reporters that these talks over the House speakership are "the most hopeful set of conversations we've had in weeks." 

"I think we have the right contours that enable us to get Kevin McCarthy to have a majority vote," he said. "And that's assurances on the structure of how we're going to deal with each other, how we're going to enable sound public policy, and the type of public policy that'll be the front and center for this Congress." 

Asked how many more ballots it could take to get there, McHenry shrugged. Pressed on the possibility of adjourning after this vote, he replied "it's still in process. We still have miles to go." 

He also noted, "I think this is us making clear our purpose for this Congress and how we're going to do it. In that way, it's clarifying what our intent is, and that enables trust where some have had trust issues."

 

4:16 p.m. ET, January 5, 2023

McCarthy appears to suffer defeat in 9th speaker ballot

From CNN staff

Rep. Troy Nehls, left, nominates Rep. Kevin McCarthy for House speaker on Thursday.
Rep. Troy Nehls, left, nominates Rep. Kevin McCarthy for House speaker on Thursday. (Eric Lee/Bloomberg/Getty images)

Rep. Kevin McCarthy appears to again suffer defeat in the ninth round of voting for House speaker as more than five Republicans opposed his bid.

A tenth round of voting would be the longest speaker contest in 164 years.

A group of hardline Republicans have so far derailed McCarthy's bid to become House speaker — even after McCarthy reportedly proposed major concessions late Wednesday.

Why CNN says "appears to" suffer a defeat before the gavel goes down: Members-elect have the ability to change their votes before the vote is gaveled over. CNN is following along and tallying the voice votes as they happen, but it's important to be clear that anything could technically change before the vote ends.