US House fails to elect new speaker in first round of voting

Washington,Oct 18 (IANS): The US House of Representatives has failed to elect a new speaker in the first round of voting, as right-wing Republican Jim Jordan, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, failed to garner enough support from his own party two weeks after the historical ouster of Kevin McCarthy.

On Tuesday night, Jordan, who was nominated by House Republicans on October 13, won 200 votes from the 220 Republicans present, while House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, the Democratic nominee, received all 212 votes from his party, with both falling shy of the 217 majority needed to become the next Speaker, reports Xinhua news agency.

Jordan lost 20 Republicans, with six voting for former speaker McCarthy, and seven voting for House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, who previously won the Republican speakership nomination but failed to unite the party and dropped out of the race.

With a slim 221-212 Republican majority in the chamber, a party nominee cannot afford to lose more than just a few fellow members in order to win the speakership.

Jordan, co-founder of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, is considered a far-right figure within the Republican party, and has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump.

Speaker Pro Tempore Representative Patrick McHenry, a North Carolina Republican, quickly called the chamber to recess after the first round of voting.

The continuation of a bitter party infighting is expected, which has paralysed the House for days.

The House cannot move forward on its legislative process until a speaker is chosen, and lawmakers need to pass a spending bill before government funding runs out in mid-November. The House is also under pressure to take action amid the escalating Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

The latest chaos came after the unprecedented ouster of McCarthy, who was booted out of his position two weeks ago, in a move initiated by a conservative member of his own party.

It marked the first time in US history that a sitting House speaker had been voted out of office.

In January's speaker election, McCarthy clawed his way to victory by cutting a deal with conservatives after a grueling four days and 15 rounds of voting, a process House Republicans certainly want to avoid.

Fierce resistance to Ukraine war funding among Republican hardliners, including Jordan, contributed to the unprecedented vote that led to McCarthy's ouster.

The speakership is second-in-line to the presidency after the vice-president.



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Title: US House fails to elect new speaker in first round of voting

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