January 4, 2023

The Battle for House Speaker

Republicans control the House of Representatives, but you wouldn’t know it by watching them try to elect a speaker.

The House adjourned for business Tuesday evening without settling the business of who will be its next speaker. That’s because Republican leader Kevin McCarthy failed to secure the necessary 218 votes after three rounds. Here we are beginning 2023, and the last time this sort of logjam occurred was 1923.

We chronicled McCarthy’s bid and the challenges that he faced before the holiday break. The Republicans’ thin House majority — secured by the red ripple last November — means that McCarthy would need the votes of just about every member of the caucus to gain the speakership. Yet he’s faced steady opposition from a group of between five and 20 conservatives seeking either procedural concessions or committee promises, or desiring a different speaker altogether.

McCarthy spent the weekend trying to shore up support by offering changes to House rules in exchange for votes. The most significant, and the one that may doom his chances, was a proposal to allow five members of the majority to force a vote of no confidence in the speaker. Giving just five members that extraordinary power puts the speaker in a tenuous position. Can the GOP be counted on to be so unified that there would never be an instance in which merely five members could upset the whole caucus? Obviously not, considering it took just five members to stymie McCarthy’s bid, and 20 voted against him in the third round.

McCarthy also offered to tighten up proxy-voting procedures to avoid a repeat of the passage of last month’s $1.7 trillion omnibus bill with 200 House members absent for the vote. “We will meet, gather, and debate in person,” McCarthy said, “just as the founders envisioned.”

McCarthy’s last-minute deal-making came to nothing, though. In the first round of voting Tuesday, he earned 203 votes, with 10 votes going to Andy Biggs of Arizona and nine GOP votes going to other lawmakers. In the second round, McCarthy got 203 votes with 19 going to Jim Jordan of Ohio. In the final round, McCarthy found himself reduced to 202 votes, with Jordan receiving 20. That’s when the Republican leadership decided to call it quits for the day, adjourning until noon today.

Jordan says, “I think Kevin McCarthy is the right guy to lead us.” Yeah, you read that right. Donald Trump also backed McCarthy (again), saying Republicans should “TAKE THE VICTORY” and unify behind the California congressman.

As for the Democrats, they displayed their usual robotic discipline by unanimously casting their 212 votes for Hakeem Jeffries of New York in each round. Jeffries actually earned more votes than McCarthy, though it’s highly unlikely that the Democrat could gain the speakership. Still, the Left is having a field day watching the GOP scramble to come up with a speaker to replace Nancy Pelosi, or even a coherent plan to do so.

At this point, it’s still unclear what will happen next, as neither McCarthy’s supporters nor his opponents seem eager to budge from their current positions. For now, the House will be run by the House clerk from the 117th Congress, Cheryl Johnson. She will be the de facto authority in the chamber, but the swearing-in of lawmakers necessary to begin legislative proceedings must wait until a speaker is designated.

As least insofar as the lower House is concerned, we live in interesting times.

Start a conversation using these share links:

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!

The Patriot Post and Patriot Foundation Trust, in keeping with our Military Mission of Service, are proud sponsors of the National Medal of Honor Heritage Center, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, Folds of Honor, Honoring the Sacrifice, Warrior Freedom Service Dogs, Officer Christian Fellowship, the Air University Foundation, the Naval War College Foundation, and the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation.


“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

Join us in prayer for our nation, that good and righteous national leaders would rise and prevail, and that division would be healed so we would be united as Americans. We pray also for the protection of our military Patriots, first responders and their families, and comfort for veterans who are suffering.

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2023 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.