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WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 03: House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) (C) and fellow Democrats prepare to leave after the new Congress failed to elect a new Speaker of the House at the U.S. Capitol Building on January 03, 2023 in Washington, DC. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) failed to get enough support to be Speaker during more than five hours of voting.
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., center, and fellow Democrats at the U.S. Capitol, on Tuesday.Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

How serious is the idea that Democrats could help the GOP elect a Speaker?

As the deadlock continues, some are considering whether Democrats could help deliver the GOP the votes to secure the speakership.

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Republicans are meeting Wednesday evening for another round of votes as GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., remains short of the votes needed to secure the speakership.

One question that's been debated both in public and private is: If the deadlock continues, would Democrats help deliver a Republican speaker?

At this point, the short answer remains: No, probably not. 

Democratic leadership aides tell NBC News that serious concessions would have to be made for Democrats to consider it, and that this isn’t a real conversation right now. Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., dodged when asked about the prospect on his way out the door Wednesday night, only saying: "We'll see what happens."

Either way, Democrats are united behind Jeffries and their leadership team. And for many of them, no conversation could even be taken seriously until McCarthy has bowed out. 

But at least one key GOP negotiator said tonight that if this current round of talks doesn’t break things loose, the next step may be to work with Democrats and make concessions on a rules package. It’s a sign of the sense of desperation starting to grow. 

Some Democrats, like California Rep. Ro Khanna, have publicly floated some concessions they might like — for instance, agreements on subpoena power or not debating raising the debt ceiling when the time comes. Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., didn't close the door on Dems accepting some sort of concessions to the rules package, either, but called it a hypothetical (and says everything is at this point): “We’ll see. But it would be unreasonable to believe that political individuals, confronted with this situation, are not talking about alternatives.”

Meanwhile, some moderate Republicans like Nebraska Rep. Don Bacon talked tonight about possible concessions they could make to some theoretically-willing Democrats. Those include committee rules, rules about congressional delegation visits and discussions about office space, although Bacon wouldn't say who he was talking to specifically about these possible concessions.

In his mind, this 11th hour approach is meant to overcome the problem that’s been plaguing Republicans all week: 19-21 people who, in Bacon’s words, “want to be the only doorway to get across and they want to exert the highest demands possible with zero give and take and I don’t like being held hostage. I don’t like paying ransom.”