There was one contentious moment just prior to the roll call, when Cat Kammack of Florida, while nominating McCarthy, suggested that Democrats were drinking during the votes. “They want us divided. They want us to fight each other. That much is being made clear by the popcorn and alcohol and blankets,” she said.
That drew shouts of “out of order” from the Democratic side.
Rep. Al Green (D-TX) has been preceding each of his votes for Hakeem Jeffries for speaker with a short statement about slavery. But on the sixth round, he had to do so with some Republicans calling him “out of order.”
There was no movement from previous votes. McCarthy spent much of the vote out of his seat, chatting with members in the back of the chamber or in the cloak room.
After the vote, the House adjourned until 8 PM, with Democrats objecting loudly.
The time period may give Republicans time to negotiate.
PREVIOUSLY: As Kevin McCarthy lost the fifth ballot in his bid to become speaker, members huddled in an apparent effort to resolve the impasse.
Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO), who has so far backed his bid, suggested on CNN that Steve Scalise, the Louisiana Republican who is majority leader, would be an alternative. After the most recent vote, Scalise was seen on the floor talking with two of the McCarthy dissidents, Matt Gaetz and Scott Perry, as well as George Santos, the incoming New York congressman. Santos, who has admitted to fabricating stories about his background, has so far voted for McCarthy.
The most recent vote was unchanged from previous rounds.
Just outside the chamber, members appeared to be getting ever more frustrated. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), a McCarthy supporter, told reporters, “You have to give props to the Democrats. They find ways to work together. And I think we should find ways to work together.”
PREVIOUSLY: With Kevin McCarthy poised to lose a fifth vote on his bid for House Speaker, one of his backers, Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) has floated the possibility of him stepping aside.
Appearing on CNN, Buck said that McCarthy needed to make a deal with the dissident members or give someone else a shot. Buck has mentioned Steve Scalise, the House Majority Leader, as a possibility.
PREVIOUSLY: Kevin McCarthy lost a fourth vote to secure a majority and win the House speakership.
The 20 Republicans opposing his bid remained that way, with each casting ballots for Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL), put forth as an alternative this round.
The only difference in the voting was that of Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-IN), who switched her vote to “present” after casting her ballot for McCarthy on Tuesday.
Earlier in the day, former President Donald Trump had urged members to vote for McCarthy as a way to “close the deal.”
“REPUBLICANS, DO NOT TURN A GREAT TRIUMPH INTO A GIANT & EMBARRASSING DEFEAT,” Trump wrote.
In nominating Donalds on the fifth ballot, Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) said that Trump “needs to tell Kevin McCarthy, ‘Sir you do not have the votes and it is time to withdraw.”
But there was no shift in the latest ballot toward McCarthy.
Jeffries garnered 212 votes, McCarthy 201 and Donalds 20. The winner must get a majority of those casting ballots for a candidate.
PREVIOUSLY: The House started another roll call vote on Kevin McCarthy’s bid for speaker, a fourth try to resolve a deadlock with 20 members of the GOP that have so far denied him a majority.
McCarthy’s GOP opponents put forth a different name for speaker: Rep. Byron Donalds, who has served as a representative from Florida since 2021.
Democrats again nominated Hakeem Jeffries, the party leader, who three times won a plurality of the votes given the divisions on the GOP side. Jeffries became the first African American nominated as speaker.
Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), who has been one of the leaders of the anti-McCarthy movement, nominated Donalds, who is Black. Roy drew applause from both sides of the aisle as he noted, “For the first time in history there are two Black Americans placed into nomination for speaker of the House.” Donalds voted for McCarthy in the first two roll calls on Tuesday, but switched to Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), who McCarthy holdouts had put forth as an alternative. As the roll call unfolded, he stood in the back of the chamber and watched, occasionally chatting with other members.
Throughout the morning, reporters staked out McCarthy’s office, hoping to get some indication of the gameplan for Wednesday, and if there was any sign of movement to his side. When McCarthy emerged from the chamber, he insisted that “at the end of the day we’ll be able to get there.”
News networks once again fixated on the chaotic process playing out, with C-SPAN offering candid shots in the chamber of the members as they watched the roll call play out. A spokesperson for C-SPAN said that they typically are given access to the chamber for big events, meaning that they don’t have to rely on government-controlled feeds, which typically provide wide shots of the chamber and close ups of the speakers.
Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), in nominating McCarthy, acknowledged that the process “looks messy,” drawing laughs on the Democratic side, where members have remained unified. Gallagher added, “We air it all out in the open for the American people to see.”
He tried to give members more reasons to back McCarthy, telling members that no one has gone above and beyond of bringing us to the majority” than the California Republican.
The House members have not yet been sworn in, something that can’t happen until a new speaker is selected. The scene was more subdued on Wednesday than it was on Tuesday, when many more children were present as members invited family to witness their inductions. But that never happened.