WASHINGTON, D.C. (WHNT) — After three days and 11 votes the U.S. House of Representatives still has not elected a speaker to lead that body.
Republican House leader Kevin McCarthy has been nominated by members on 11 occasions and has failed to get much above 200 votes each time.
McCarthy needs 218 votes to win a majority in the 435-seat House. He has received 90 percent of the House GOP members votes, but a faction of about 20 Republican members has blocked his ascent and has not wavered despite days of reported negotiations with McCarthy and his top lieutenants.
Alabama’s six Republican House members, including Huntsville-area Congressman-elect Dale Strong, have voted for McCarthy each time, but the California Republican has now reached the point no speaker candidate has been in 164 years – needing more than 10 ballots to win the job.
U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt, who represents Alabama’s 4th District, said the ongoing debate is part of the democratic process, while admitting it was also unusual.
“This is uncharted territory as they say, to some extent, at least to anybody alive right now,” he said. “The last time this happened was 100 years ago.”
Aderholt said the negotiations between GOP members could yield additional useful rule changes, but McCarthy’s challenge is not simple.
“It’s a balancing act, if you have a group over here that’s asking for these changes, then also how’s that going to affect the changes to other members?” asked Aderholt.
Aderholt said McCarthy has led House Republicans over the past few years and he said McCarthy has a solid 90 percent of GOP members support.
“At this point, I think it would be unfair to pull the rug out from Kevin McCarthy,” Aderholt said Thursday afternoon. “He has worked hard, he has rallied the troops over the past several years as Republican leader, so therefore give him a chance to be Speaker of the House.”
The continued stalemate in the U.S. House means no members have been sworn in, including new 5th District Congressman-elect Dale Strong. Strong’s office told News 19 Thursday they are engaged in constituent services.
Florida U.S. Rep. Byron Donalds has been nominated for the speakership over the past two days by the GOP faction that opposes McCarthy. If Donalds were elected, his GOP supporters pointed out today, he would become the first Black man to be Speaker of the House.
On the 11th ballot, Florida U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz delivered the nominating speech for former President Donald Trump.
As of Thursday night, the House adjourned and will reconvene Friday at noon ET.