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Kevin McCarthy fails on fourth and fifth ballots in House speaker race as GOP stalemate continues

Shortly after the House convened Wednesday at noon, Rep. Mike Gallagher of Indiana nominated McCarthy for House speaker, paving the way for a fourth round of voting to begin. After the nomination was announced, applause broke out in the House chamber from McCarthy’s allies.

In remarks, Gallagher said he recognized his colleagues are getting “frustrated” but added “there’s no place I’d rather be.” 

“My friends on the Democratic side misunderstand what’s happening here. Sure, it looks messy, but democracy is messy, democracy is messy by design,” he said. “That’s a feature, not a bug of our system.”

Gallagher said he is “proud” to be a member of a party that invites debate and acknowledged the frustrations from a faction of the Republica conference. 

But he said McCarthy has gone “above and beyond” in listening to their concerns, putting forth a plan for the House and helping Republicans to secure the majority.

“Nobody has done more to lay out a plan for how we restore the basic functioning of this institution than Kevin McCarthy. Nobody. Nobody has done that,” Gallagher said.

After Gallagher concluded his speech, Rep. Pete Aguilar, chairman of the Democratic caucus, again nominated Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries for the post. The chamber again broke out in applause.

“We are focused on serving the American people,” Aguilar said in remarks. “In order to do that, we have to unite behind a speaker, and Democrats are united behind a speaker.”

Texas Rep. Chip Roy then rose to nominate Republican Rep. Byron Donalds of Florida for speaker. Donalds switched his vote on the third ballot Tuesday from McCarthy to Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio.

Roy called Donalds a “solid conservative” and highlighted his record as a businessman and service in the Florida state legislature and in Congress.

“Here we are, and for the first time in history there have been two Black Americans placed into the nomination for speaker of the House,” he said, adding “There is an important reason for nominating Byron and that is this country needs a change. This country needs leadership that does not reflect this city, this town that is badly broken.”

The House then began its fourth round of voting for speaker.

Before the vote began, House staff counted the members present in the House chamber to establish a quorum. A quorum call showed 351 members in attendance.

Passing by reporters, McCarthy said they wouldn’t adjourn without a vote. 

“We’re not going to adjourn,” he said. “We’ll have another vote today”.

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