WASHINGTON, D.C. (WHNT) — (Updated) The U.S. House could not agree on a new Speaker Tuesday, after the leading candidate, U.S. Representative Kevin McCarthy failed to secure the needed 218 votes on the first ballot and two subsequent votes.
It marks the first time in 100 years a House Speaker nominee failed to secure the needed votes on the first ballot. McCarthy did not receive the required votes in the second or third votes and the House voted to adjourn until noon Wednesday.
The voting will continue until a new Speaker is elected. There are 218 votes needed to win a majority in the House, and there are 222 GOP members and 213 Democrats.
All six of Alabama’s Republican House members voted for McCarthy, R-Calif., but he received just 203 votes in the first two votes and 202 on the third try, after 19 Republican Congress members declined to support him on the first two ballots and 20 rejected him on the third ballot. Democratic House leader U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York got 213 votes on the first and second ballots and 212 in the third vote.
Monday, on the eve of the 118th Congress swearing-in ceremony, two North Alabama U.S. House members said they would support McCarthy in the Speaker election.
The vote comes as Alabama’s 5th congressional district will have a new representative — Republican Dale Strong. He was elected in November and replaces six-term incumbent Mo Brooks, who ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate.
Strong told News 19 on Monday he would back McCarthy.
“The GOP caucus voted overwhelmingly to support McCarthy in November,” Strong said in a statement. “I am planning to support him tomorrow. I share the concerns of North Alabamians about how the House has been run in recent years, but at this time, there is no other alternative.”
“I also plan to on voting for the most conservative rules package ever presented which will give power back to committees,” he continued. “It is time for Republicans to unify so that we can advance our agenda. Our fight is not with each other. It is to stop the Biden policies that are killing our country.”
But Tuesday, the House’s failure to agree on new Speaker means Strong has not yet been sworn in.
U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt, who represents Alabama’s 4th District also told News 19 he would support McCarthy.
“I’m planning to cast my vote for Kevin McCarthy to be the next Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. He’s earned it. No one has worked harder to take back the House than Kevin McCarthy.
“The American people elected a Republican majority in the House because they were tired of the direction of our nation and the leadership of Speaker Pelosi. The American people are expecting us to work to stop inflation, deal with the crisis at our southern border and hold the Biden Administration accountable. The sooner we elect a Republican Speaker, the sooner we can start.”
Strong, who served for 26 years on the Madison County Commission, also said he hopes to continue one of Brooks’ key committee assignments — a seat on the House Armed Services committee.
Strong said he had spoken to McCarthy about that possibility.
Alabama’s first female U.S. Senator Katie Britt will also be sworn in Tuesday. She replaces Richard Shelby, who served in the Senate for more than 36 years.
“Taking the oath of office is incredibly humbling,” Britt said. “As people across America approach this time of year with a sense of renewal and optimism while undertaking New Year’s resolutions.”
“I want Alabamians to hear this commitment directly from me: I am firmly resolved to never be outworked and to always make Alabama proud in the United States Senate.
“Being entrusted to serve as Alabama’s U.S. Senator is a tremendous honor and responsibility. I am ready to hit the ground running to fight for hardworking families in every corner of our great state and to preserve the American Dream for generations to come.”