Kevin McCarthy puts his hand to his temple and closes his eyes, looking distressed.

Republicans Took Control of the House Today and Things Are Already off to a Terrible Start

The 118th Congress convened today, with Republicans taking control of the House of Representatives. But thanks to the party’s infighting, they could not agree on who would lead the party as the Speaker of House. So for the first time in about 100 years, there simply isn’t one.

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Kevin McCarthy needed a majority of votes to secure his place as House Speaker. Since Republicans have 222 House seats, that means he could lose four votes and still have the 218 needed. But a few far-right Republican “influencers” have expressed strong opposition to McCarthy and support of the much more extremist Andy Biggs of Arizona.

McCarthy only had four votes to lose to Biggs. In the end, Biggs got 10 votes. Lauren Boebert and a few others voted for Jim Jordan, who wasn’t even officially nominated but is horrible enough to get her support.

Texas’ Chip Roy (who you’ve probably never heard of) also voted for Florida’s Byron Donalds (who you’ve almost definitely never heard of) for some reason.

McCarthy ended up with only 202 votes. Democrats voted unanimously to elect Hakeem Jeffries as their party leader, but since no one got an outright majority of the votes cast, the vote for Speaker will go to a second ballot. (Update 4:30 pm, the House is currently on their THIRD ballot.) The last time a Speaker wasn’t elected on the first ballot was in 1923.

The new Congress can’t officially be sworn in and take their oaths of office until a Speaker is elected. Congratulations to the Republican Party for making the very least of their new majority and being as ineffectual as humanly possible right from the very start.

This article has been updated with a correction regarding the process of additional votes.

(image: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)


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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.