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House speaker vote highlights: McCarthy elected speaker on 15th ballot after making concessions to far-right rebels

McCarthy prevailed early Saturday after he was able to whittle away hard-liners who opposed him over 14 rounds of voting.

What to know about the House speaker race

  • Rep. Kevin McCarthy prevailed in the race to be speaker on the 15th ballot after four tension-filled days by whittling away at the opposition from hard-liners who sought to block him.
  • McCarthy got the votes by making a series of concessions to far-right rebels, which Democrats say they will make the House ungovernable. Here's how those could haunt him.
  • The process to elect McCarthy as the House speaker took over 24 hours from gavel to gavel, according to a tally by NBC News.
  • Tensions exploded on the House floor overnight after the 14th ballot failed to elect McCarthy, with one GOP lawmaker appearing to need to be physically restrained from Rep. Matt Gaetz, who consistently opposed McCarthy.
  • Gaetz and other detractors voted present, which helped McCarthy over the finish line.

McCarthy thanks Trump, credits him with helping move final votes

McCarthy thanked Trump for his support in an impromptu news conference with reporters following the vote.

"I do want to especially thank President Trump," he said, adding that he spoke to Trump earlier in the evening and that Trump helped move the final votes that got him over the finish line.

"What he's really saying, really for the party, that we have to come together," McCarthy said.

McCarthy gets his sign above the office door

After moving into the office on Tuesday, McCarthy was finally able to call it his own.

The sign at the office of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of Calif., is installed on Capitol Hill in Washington, early Saturday, Jan. 7, 2023. (AP Photo/ Matt Rourke)
The sign at the office of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of Calif., is installed on Capitol Hill, on Saturday.Matt Rourke / AP

Cheers as House adjourns until 5 p.m. Monday

Ginger GibsonSenior Washington Editor

After a contentious week, the House adjourned shortly before 2 a.m. until 5 p.m. ET on Monday — this time gaveled out by Speaker McCarthy amid cheers from lawmakers.

Jeffries formally becomes first Black leader of a political congressional caucus

Ginger GibsonSenior Washington Editor

Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-Calif., gave the formal notice on the floor that Rep. Hakeem Jeffries was selected by Democrats to be the minority leader — making him the first Black person to lead a political caucus in Congress.

Members have now been sworn in after days of limbo

The members of the House took the oath of office in masse in the early morning hours of Saturday after waiting four days while the chamber was deadlocked on the speaker vote.

"I hope that was worth the wait," McCarthy said afterward.

Among the new members: George Santos, the 34-year-old New York Republican who has confessed to lying about part of his background. He faces several investigations into his campaign amid calls for him to resign.

Overall, Santos does not appear to have received a warm welcome from his GOP colleagues. During the numerous speaker votes, he was often seen sitting by himself, though on at least one occasion he was photographed chatting with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga.

McCarthy sworn in

Ginger GibsonSenior Washington Editor

McCarthy has taken his oath as House speaker.

Ukraine's Zelenskyy congratulates McCarthy

Ginger GibsonSenior Washington Editor

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy praised McCarthy for his election to the speakership, adding that American aid has been critical in his country's fight against Russia.

Some Republicans have been critical of U.S. military aid to Ukraine, raising concerns that the GOP-controlled House may decrease the assistance.

"We're counting on your continued support and further U.S. assistance to bring our common victory closer," Zelenskyy wrote on Twitter.

McCarthy takes speaker gavel — at last

Ginger GibsonSenior Washington Editor

McCarthy delivered an acceptance speech after finally ascending the dais and taking the speaker's gavel.

"Our system is built on checks and balances and it's time for us to be a check on the president's policies," McCarthy said.

He discussed the border, the national debt, China and ending "woke indoctrination at our schools."

"We will use the power of the purse and the power of the subpoena to get the job done," McCarthy said.

McCarthy said the House's first committee hearing will be held at the southern border.

How long did it take to elect a speaker? 24 hours and 12 minutes

The drawn-out and contentious process to elect McCarthy as the House speaker took over 24 hours from gavel to gavel, according to a tally by NBC News.

From Tuesday at noon when the House first convened until the early hours of Saturday morning when the 15th round concluded, the chamber spent 24 hours and 12 minutes in session trying to elect a speaker.

The longest day was Thursday, when the House took four votes that spanned 8 hours and six minutes.

During the process, each vote took about an hour, plus the time to count and reconfigure between votes.

The second longest day of voting was Friday, into Saturday, which took 6 hours and 17 minutes.

Jeffries thanks Democrats for 'unanimous support'

Ginger GibsonSenior Washington Editor

Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries delivered a speech praising Democrats' prior control of the House before ceremoniously handing the gavel to McCarthy.

Jeffries thanked Democrats for unanimously backing him in each successive vote for speaker. "That showing of strength isn't for any one individual, it'll be a showing of strength for the 118th Congress," Jeffries said, seeming to jab at the Republicans for their division.

The late-night speech drew the ire of some Republicans, who began chanting "Kevin."

Biden congratulates McCarthy, says he's prepared to work with House GOP

President Joe Biden offered his congratulations to McCarthy early Saturday morning.

"As I said after the midterms, I am prepared to work with Republicans when I can and voters made clear that they expect Republicans to be prepared to work with me as well. Now that the leadership of the House of Representatives has been decided it is time for that process to begin," Biden said.

He added: "This is a time to govern responsibly and to ensure that we’re putting the interests of American families first."

How McCarthy got the speaker votes — and why it could haunt him

After four days of deadlock and embarrassing defeats not seen in a century, House Speaker-elect Kevin McCarthy carved out a path to placate a faction of rebels and secure the job, with promises that could come back to haunt him.

McCarthy flipped 14 of his holdouts and convinced the rest to stand down, and was elected as the 53rd speaker of the House on the 15th ballot on Saturday after overcoming a last-minute wrench that scuttled his best-laid plans on the previous ballot. In doing so, he made a series of concessions that weaken the power of his office and expand the clout of far-right members of the House Republican conference, which critics say could complicate his job of governing under the wafer-thin majority.

McCarthy and his allies sensed they were on the verge of a breakthrough on Thursday night after Rep. French Hill, R-Ark., and others tapped by the now-speaker-elect met with a group of right-wing holdouts — including Reps. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Chip Roy of Texas and Byron Donalds of Florida. The mutiny was led by members of the far-right House Freedom Caucus, which is known for wielding raw power and a high tolerance for chaos to force House GOP leaders to bend to their wishes.

McCarthy’s team presented them with a “framework” of House rules changes and other promises that would appease the group — and ultimately prompt six others to vote “present,” a crucial move that lowered the threshold and paved the way for him to succeed.

Read the full story here.

Trump congratulates McCarthy after 'crazy' process

Ginger GibsonSenior Washington Editor

Trump backed McCarthy's speaker bid, but it was some of the former president's most ardent supporters who blocked him for 14 rounds of voting.

Trump didn't seem to hold it against them.

"The 'Speaker' selection process, as crazy as it may seem, has made it all much bigger and more important than if done the more conventional way," Trump wrote on his social media website Truth Social. "Congratulations to Kevin McCarthy and our GREAT Republican Party."

Coming up: Swearing in the member-elects

Once McCarthy is sworn in as speaker, the House will swear-in member-elects early Saturday morning, according to a notice sent out from Whip Tom Emmer to all GOP offices and obtained by NBC News.

A vote on the rules package will be postponed until Monday, according to the notice.

Final tally: McCarthy wins with 216 votes

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

The final tally in the 15th speaker vote was 216 for McCarthy, 212 for Jeffries and six members voting present.

McCarthy elected speaker in 15th round

McCarthy was elected House speaker Saturday shortly after midnight on the 15th ballot.

His win was met with sustained applause and came after four straight days of voting for a new speaker. It also followed a tense and chaotic 14th round where McCarthy fell one vote short of securing the gavel.

McCarthy's bid had been blocked in earlier rounds by 20 Republicans who opposed him, but after numerous negotiations, enough conservatives changed their position to give him the job he'd long sought.

The speaker selection process ended up being the fifth longest, by number of vote rounds, in U.S. history. It had been tied with the 1821 speaker election until the 12th round. Number four on the list, the 1820 speaker election, went to 22 ballots.

Why the scuffle on the House floor?


Ali Vitali

Haley Talbot

Jonathan Allen, Ali Vitali and Haley Talbot

When Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., had to be physically restrained from going after Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., he was frustrated because Gaetz had been holding out for a subcommittee gavel on the Armed Services Committee, according to a person familiar with the situation.

Rogers is poised to chair the full committee. Gaetz voted “present” again on the 15th ballot, which with other present votes could secure the speakership for Kevin McCarthy.

Reps. Andy Biggs, Eli Crane vote present

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Reps. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., and Eli Crane, R-Ariz., who consistently voted against McCarthy on all previous ballots, voted present on the 15th ballot.

Marjorie Taylor Greene appears to have Trump on the phone on the House floor

As chaos erupted following the 14th floor, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene appeared to be holding up a phone with former President Donald Trump on the line.

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican from Georgia, holds her smart phone with former US President Donald Trump on the line, as Representative Matt Rosendale, a Republican from Montana, waves it off during a meeting of the 118th Congress in the House Chamber at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, US, on Friday, Jan. 6, 2023. McCarthy was increasingly confident that he'll gain the additional votes he needs to be elected as House speaker after converting some of the holdouts that had blocked him over the previous three days. Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene holds her phone with former President Donald Trump on the line, as Rep. Matt Rosendale waves it off on Friday.Al Drago / Bloomberg via Getty Images

15th round of voting begins

Ginger GibsonSenior Washington Editor

The House has begun voting for the 15th time for speaker.

Before nominating Jeffries, Phillips reacts to GOP chaos: 'I rise to say, wow'

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., began his nominating speech for Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., saying, "I rise to say, wow."

Republicans laughed at the comment and applauded. Phillips then urged six Republicans to vote Jeffries for speaker to "end this nonsense."

'One more time, one more time!': Lawmakers chant before 15th ballot vote

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

There were chants of "one more time" on the House floor from lawmakers as the tallied up the votes on the motion to adjourn.

The votes fell short after many Republicans changed their vote to "no," prompting a 15th ballot for speaker.

Photo: Republicans confront Gaetz after McCarthy loses 14th round

Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C., left, pulls Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., back as they talk with Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., and other during the 14th round of voting for speaker as the House meets for the fourth day to try and elect a speaker and convene the 118th Congress in Washington, Friday, Jan. 6, 2023. At right is Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C.
Rep. Richard Hudson, left, pulls Rep. Mike Rogers back as they talk with Rep. Matt Gaetz (not shown) during the speaker vote on Friday.Andrew Harnik / AP

Gaetz votes against motion to adjourn, McCarthy switches his vote to 'no,' too

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

During the roll call vote on a motion to adjourn until Monday, it was becoming clear that it was going to fail because several Republicans were opposed.

Then, Gaetz went to the dais and voted against adjourning and then went to McCarthy and they shook hands. Suddenly, McCarthy switched his vote to also oppose the motion that his own ally brought to the floor.

A number of Republicans then began to follow McCarthy's lead in switching their votes.

The House appears headed to a 15th vote.

McHenry offers motion to adjourn until Monday at noon; roll call vote requested

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

After the clerk announced that no one received enough votes to secure the speaker's gavel on the 14th ballot, Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., offered a motion to adjourn until noon on Monday.

A roll call vote was requested after more members called out against the motion.

Chart: How the GOP hold-outs voted in the 14th ballot

GOP lawmaker appears to lunge at Gaetz in remarkable moment on House floor

After Gaetz voted present — leading to uncertainty over the outcome of the 14th ballot for speaker late Friday night before it was officially announced that McCarthy had lost — McCarthy approached Gaetz in the back of the chamber.

A tense back and forth ensued, while a number of Republican lawmakers began to crowd them. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., appeared to lunge in the direction of where Gaetz was sitting, but was held back by other members.

Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C., was seen grabbing Rogers around the mouth; Rogers immediately left for the cloak room to cool off.

It's unclear what the disagreement or argument was about and what prompted Rogers to become heated.

Kevin McCarthy loses 14th round of House speaker voting, a blow after having signaled confidence

Ginger GibsonSenior Washington Editor

Kevin McCarthy lost the 14th round of House speaker voting, delivering a blow after having signaled confidence he had persuaded enough hard-liners.

Uncertainty hangs over the House floor

Ginger GibsonSenior Washington Editor

McCarthy began the 14th round of votes appearing confident he had mustered the support that he needed to be elected speaker.

But at the end of the tally, Matt Gaetz cast his vote as "present," which appeared to have left McCarthy short the votes he needs to be speaker.

The tallying of the votes continues and the official totals haven't been announced.

Gaetz votes present, and a discussion with McCarthy ensues

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., voted present.

Gaetz had opposed McCarthy throughout all previous ballot votes this week. McCarthy walked over to where Gaetz was seated after he cast his present vote and they were seen in an intense back and forth.

Rep. Wesley Hunt receives standing ovation after flying back to vote for McCarthy

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Rep. Wesley Hunt, R-Texas, received a standing ovation after casting his vote for McCarthy on the 14th ballot after he flew back to Washington on Friday.

Hunt had been at home in Texas to be with his wife and his son, who was recently born prematurely. After Hunt voted, McCarthy walked over and thanked him.

Boebert votes present

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., voted present on the 14th ballot for speaker after consistently voting against McCarthy over the last four days.

Her vote benefits McCarthy in his bid for speaker by lowering the threshold of votes he needs to win.

House reconvenes to hold 14th round of speaker votes

Ginger GibsonSenior Washington Editor

The House has reconvened to begin the 14th round of speaker votes.

Boebert and Gaetz indicate GOP may be nearing finish line in speaker's race

GOP Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida and Lauren Boebert of Colorado, two of McCarthy's most outspoken detractors, indicated Friday night that Republicans might be nearing the finish line in the House speaker's race.

During a Fox News interview, the pair of Republican lawmakers softened their criticism of McCarthy and signaled light at the end of the tunnel in a stalemate that's now in its fourth day.

Gaetz told Sean Hannity that while “a few finishing touches” may be needed, he was “excited and encouraged” by McCarthy’s receptiveness in the negotiations, a strikingly different tone from his remarks about the California Republican just a day ago.

“We may be able to get this resolved tonight,” Gaetz added.

Asked whether a speaker is likely to be elected after the House reconvenes at 10 p.m., Boebert said: "We’ll see how tonight goes."

"I think that there are some things that we need to get locked in," she added.

Boxes of Five Guys delivered to McCarthy's office

Nearly a dozen large boxes from Five Guys were delivered to McCarthy's office Friday around 7:30 p.m. ahead of a potentially long night of floor action.

NBC News

Republicans planning for swearing-in and votes on House rules package tonight if speaker is chosen

Rep. Tom Emmer, a Minnesota Republican and member of GOP leadership, notified colleagues that if a new speaker is chosen Friday night, the chamber will immediately swear-in lawmakers and vote on a measure setting House rules for the 118th Congress.

In his notice, Emmer laid out the planned House agenda after it reconvenes at 10 p.m. ET.

Lawmakers should be be prepared to wrap up floor business as late as 3 a.m., assuming a speaker is chosen not long after reconvening, according to Emmer.

NBC News

How one state broke through its House speaker logjam as Washington remains stuck

Faced with a razor-thin divide in the legislature, lawmakers quickly and unexpectedly coalesced around a surprising compromise pick for speaker this week that, when boosted by more than a dozen members of the opposition party, secured a solution that few thought would be possible so quickly.

Obviously, this is not a story about Washington, D.C., where Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s unsuccessful — and still ongoing — attempt to become speaker will go down in history.

This is a story about Pennsylvania, where Democratic lawmakers, faced with a deadlock Tuesday, backed state Rep. Mark Rozzi, a moderate rank-and-file member of their party few expected to rise in this moment. Rozzi pledged he would operate as an independent, drawing 16 Republican votes to get him over the top.

But Pennsylvania lawmakers say there are some lessons U.S. House Republicans can take from their contested speaker race — namely, that the best deal might be with those across the aisle rather than those in your party’s far flank. These lawmakers argue that a real compromise, however, will likely leave everyone feeling a bit shorted. And that’s a good thing.

Read the full story here.

National Security Council spokesman says intel officials have ways to communicate with lawmakers amid speaker stalemate

The White House has mechanisms to communicate with pertinent lawmakers while the House remains deadlocked in the speaker’s race, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Friday.

"We have vehicles to continue to communicate with both chambers of Congress, and that communication will continue throughout the foreseeable future," Kirby said at a White House press briefing.

"We’re confident that we can continue to defend the United States of America while House Republicans are working their way through this process," Kirby said.

Several lawmakers have raised concerns over the national security impact of the stalled speaker's race. Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., said a meeting with Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., scheduled to take place in the secure room known as the sensitive compartmented information facility with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs had to be canceled since the lawmakers hadn't yet been sworn in as members of the 118th Congress.

House has spent 21 hours, 34 minutes in deadlocked speaker's race

After the House voted to adjourn until 10 p.m. Friday night, its members had spent 21 hours, 34 minutes on the floor in failed efforts to elect a speaker.

The total is up three hours, 39 minutes from the nearly 18 hours spent between Tuesday and Thursday.

Chart: How many multiple-ballot elections there have been

JoElla Carman

Joe Murphy and JoElla Carman

Of the more than 50 speakers of the House, 15 have been in McCarthy’s situation: needing multiple elections to win the gavel.

Read the rest of the story, The House speaker election, in three charts.

Gaetz appears to concede McCarthy could win speaker's gavel

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., a key McCarthy holdout, appeared to concede Friday afternoon that the GOP leader could win the speaker's gavel.

"I think the House is in a lot better place with some of the work that’s been done to democratize power out of the speakership and that’s our goal," said Gaetz, who had been huddling on the House floor with another McCarthy detractor: Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo.

McCarthy expresses confidence he'll 'finish this once and for all' Friday night

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

McCarthy expressed confidence Friday afternoon that when the House reconvenes at 10 p.m. ET, he will have secured enough support to be elected speaker.

"I think you saw we made some very good progress. We’ll come back tonight. I think at that time we’ll have the votes to finish this once and for all," the California Republican told reporters.

"It just reminds me of what my father always told me: It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. And now we have to finish for the American public," he continued. "This is the great party. Because it took this long, now we know how to govern so now we’ll be able to get the job done. Thank you all very much."

House adjourns until 10 p.m. ET

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

The House adjourns until 10 p.m. ET Friday. Republicans are hoping to return with enough votes to elect McCarthy as speaker.

House voting on a motion to adjourn until 10 p.m. ET

Ginger GibsonSenior Washington Editor

The House is voting on a motion to adjourn until 10 p.m. ET, when two additional McCarthy allies are expected to return to Washington.

Key Republican describes three components of 'framework' agreement with McCarthy

Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., the chair of the Freedom Caucus, said there are three core components of the “framework of an agreement” that prompted a group of right-wing holdouts to vote for McCarthy on Friday.

First, it would include changes to “motion to vacate” the speaker’s chair, making it easier for members to mount a challenge to him or her.

Second, it overhauls the process of “spending and how we allocate the taxpayers’ money” with “broad changes,” he said.

And third, it assures “conservative representation that represents the face of America across the entire body, not just put in certain pockets.”

Perry insisted that if the framework falls though, he will switch his vote back to “no” and move to sink McCarthy.

“We have a framework of an agreement. If the framework blows up, I’m out,” he told reporters.

Unlucky 13 for McCarthy as speaker bid again falls short

The thirteenth time wasn't the charm for McCarthy as he failed to garner enough votes to become speaker — but he did inch closer to his goal.

McCarthy held on to the 14 Republican votes that had switched to him in the 12th round of voting, and added one other — Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland.

Six Republicans still voted for another candidate — Rep. Jim Jordan, who nominated McCarthy for the job on Tuesday.

Rep. David Trone gets standing ovation after returning to vote after surgery

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Rep. David Trone, D-Md., received a standing ovation and cheers when he cast his vote for Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., during the 13th ballot vote Friday.

He returned to the Capitol in the afternoon after undergoing surgery in the morning. He arrived with his arm in a sling and still in his hospital socks, wearing slippers.

McCarthy falls short again

Ginger GibsonSenior Washington Editor

On the 13th round, McCarthy still couldn't muster the votes needed to be elected speaker.

Rep. Harris flips for McCarthy

Alana Satlin

Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., a key McCarthy opponent, voted for the GOP leader during the 13th round of votes after casting a ballot for Rep. Jim Jordan in the previous round.

This brings the number of GOP defectors who have cast votes for McCarthy so far on Friday to 14. Rep. Victoria Spartz, who voted present in some earlier rounds, also voted for McCarthy during the 12th and 13th rounds on Friday.

Democrat who missed Friday's first vote for surgery is back at the Capitol

Perry explains why he switched his vote to McCarthy

Scott Perry said he switched his vote to Kevin McCarthy after the GOP leader agreed to certain changes Perry was seeking.

"I trust the framework of the agreement we have," Perry told reporters, adding their discussions include changes "in how we spend and allocate money" and to the earmarks process.

"We don’t want clean debt ceilings to just go through and just keep paying the bill without some counteracting effort to control spending,” Perry said. "We control the power of the purse."

He also said he was open to trying to convince the remaining holdouts to back McCarthy "because they probably think things are broken in Washington, too."

House begins 13th round

Ginger GibsonSenior Washington Editor

The House is beginning the 13th round of speaker votes.

Chart: Which of the GOP hold-outs flipped to McCarthy on 12th ballot?

Members of Congress pray before Friday's session

Members of Congress pray in the House chamber before the House meets on Jan. 6, 2023.
Andrew Harnik / AP

Rep. Bob Good, a McCarthy opponent, refuses to answer questions about Republicans who flipped

Rep. Bob Good, R-Va., refused to answer questions Friday about the group of Republicans who reversed course and decided to vote for McCarthy on the 12th ballot for speaker.

NBC's Ryan Nobles attempted to ask Good — a McCarthy opponent who voted for Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, on the 12th ballot — questions on camera outside the Capitol, but he remained silent and did not respond.

House Democrat skips votes due to surgery

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Rep. David Trone, D-Md., had to miss Friday's votes due to a previously scheduled medical procedure, his spokesperson said in a statement.

"Congressman Trone is unable to attend votes due to a necessary surgery that could not be rescheduled at a time that would fit the House voting schedule," the spokesperson, Sasha Galbreath, said.

Trone plans to return to Washington "as soon as possible" and will "remain there for as long as it takes to elect a speaker," the statement said.

McCarthy gets significantly more votes, but loses 12th ballot

McCarthy peeled away a significant number of the breakaway Republicans who'd been voting against him, but still fell short of the total needed to be elected speaker in the 12th round of voting Friday.

Thirteen of the 20 Republicans who'd voted for other candidates on Wednesday and Thursday switched their votes to McCarthy in the first of Friday's votes, the first sign of momentum for McCarthy since voting started Tuesday. It also gave him a total of 213 votes for speaker — for the first time putting him ahead of Democrat Hakeem Jeffries, who's consistently received all 212 Democratic votes. Jeffries fell to 211 votes, because one Democrat had a medical issue.

Those who switched their votes from other candidates were Reps. Bishop, Bresheen, Cloud, Clyde, Byron Donalds, Paul Gosar, Anna Paulina Luna, Mary Miller, Ralph Norman, Andrew Ogles, Scott Perry, Chip Roy and Keith Self. Rep. Victoria Spartz, who'd been voting present, voted for McCarthy as well, giving him a total of 14 additional votes.

Of the seven still holding out, four voted for Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio and three voted for Kevin Hern of Oklahoma.

The quest to elect a new speaker now moves to a 13th round — making the current speaker selection process the fifth longest, by number of vote rounds, in history. It had been tied with the 1821 speaker election. Number four on the list, the 1820 speaker election, went to 22 ballots.

Reps. Luna, Miller, Norman, Perry, Roy, Self and Spartz flip and support McCarthy

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Seven more Republicans who opposed McCarthy voted for the California Republican during the 12th ballot.

  1. Anna Paulina Luna of Florida
  2. Mary Miller of Illinois
  3. Ralph Norman of South Carolina
  4. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania
  5. Chip Roy of Texas
  6. Keith Self of Texas
  7. Victoria Spartz of Indiana (who had voted present during previous votes.)

McCarthy grows support but still falls short

Ginger GibsonSenior Washington Editor

While McCarthy was able to flip some of his detractors on the 12th ballot, he still is heading to another defeat.

Reps. Cloud, Clyde and Donalds also flip and back McCarthy

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

On the 12th ballot, Reps. Michael Cloud, R-Texas, and Andrew Clyde, R-Ga., also flipped and voted in favor of McCarthy for speaker.

Of the 20 detractors, so ar McCarthy has flipped five.

As Gaetz nominates Jim Jordan, GOP members start leaving floor in protest

As Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida was nominating Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio for speaker on the 12th ballot vote, many House Republicans began leaving the floor in protest.

Gaetz was attacking McCarthy, saying, "We do not trust Kevin McCarthy with power."

"Madam Clerk, at this time, there is great trust in Mr. Jordan, and that’s why I am nominating him, and there is insufficient trust in Kevin McCarthy," Gaetz said. 

Rep. Mike Bost, R-Ill., began yelling at Gaetz on the floor, while others left.

Clyburn cites Jan. 6 anniversary while nominating Jeffries

Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C, noted the second anniversary of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol while nominating Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., as speaker.

"Our resolve was tested when a violent mob of insurrectionists attacked our capital, threatened the integrity of this democracy and undermined the constitution. The greatness of this country and the resiliency of our democracy were put at peril, but we survived," Clyburn said.

Clyburn, a mentor to Jeffries who previously served as majority whip, said, the Democratic leader is "not just prepared to lead but committed to preserving this democracy."

In his remarks, Clyburn also earned some bipartisan applause by paying tribute to House clerk Cheryl Johnson, who's presiding over the vote. "I want to begin by thanking you for your contribution to maintaining the dignity and honor of this robust body of the country," Clyburn said.

Reps. Bishop, Brecheen flip and vote for McCarthy on 12th ballot

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

On the 12th ballot vote, two previous McCarthy opponents, Reps. Dan Bishop, R-N.C., and Rep.-elect Josh Brecheen, R-Colo., flipped and voted for the California Republican.

McCarthy negotiates with Freedom Caucus for Rules Committee seats

Haley Talbot

Sahil Kapur and Haley Talbot

Kevin McCarthy is in discussions with far-right holdouts who want members of the conservative Freedom Caucus to have seats on the powerful Rules Committee, which controls which bills get votes on the House floor.

The Freedom Caucus wants three members on the Rules Committee. They're negotiating a system where McCarthy would pick one, while they'd present him a list and he'd choose the other two from it, two Republican lawmakers familiar with the discussions told NBC News.

There is no final agreement yet on getting the votes for Speaker.

McCarthy says he thinks there will be 'an improvement in the vote today'

On his way to the House floor Friday, McCarthy said in an interview on MSNBC that he thinks there will be progress made on the fourth day of speaker votes.

"I think you’re gonna see an improvement in the vote today," said McCarthy, who noted that some lawmakers are absent Friday for other obligations.

The agreement Republicans are working toward, McCarthy said, is about House rules, which he said "makes us only stronger in the long run."

Asked if he's worried about the message the GOP is sending to the public about the party's inability to govern, McCarthy said, "No, no you know my father always told me one thing — it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish."

'The insane exercise' and 'not a good start to 2023,' Republican says

Rep. Steve Womack, R-Ark., lamented the chaotic start for Congress in an op-ed for the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Friday.

"I have repeatedly said how we govern early in the 118th Congress will frame our effectiveness over the next two years. With a narrow, four-seat majority, it is essential we hit the ground running and quickly execute our Commitment to America. After two days, House members have still not been sworn in," Womack wrote. "Not a good start to 2023."

Womack also didn't sound optimistic that the stalemate would end anytime soon.

He wrote that "we will continue the insane exercise of calling the roll of the 118th Congress without a different outcome. But I look on the bright side: At least we are getting the opportunity to put a name with a face on the new members! You’ve got to take the victories, no matter how small."


House begins 12th round of speaker voting

Ginger GibsonSenior Washington Editor

The House has begun the process of conducting a 12th round of votes for speaker.

McCarthy supporter Wesley Hunt flies home to see family, will miss votes

Rep.-elect Wesley Hunt, R-Texas, flew home Friday morning to be with his wife and new baby, his office tells NBC News. That Hunt will miss Friday's proceedings hurts McCarthy’s chances seeing as Hunt has been a consistent supporter. 

“This has been a challenging week for the American people and for my family," Hunt said in a tweet. "A few days ago, my wife Emily gave birth to our son Willie, who was born premature and spent time in the neonatal intensive care unit.”

He said that while his son is healthy, his wife had to return to the hospital due to non-life-threatening medical complications.

“Willie needs his father and Emily needs her husband," he said. "Today, I’ll be returning home to hold my son and be at my wife’s side. It’s my intention to get back into the fight as soon as possible.”

House reconvenes with no end in sight

Alana Satlin

The House reconvened on Friday after Republicans failed four days in a row to choose a new House speaker.

Republican members joined a conference call with McCarthy on Friday morning in which he projected optimism but acknowledged that he had not reached an agreement with his detractors.

Delay in choosing a speaker impacts new D.C. laws

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

The delay in choosing a House speaker is affecting life just outside the Capitol: New laws for the District of Columbia cannot take effect.

"Local DC legislation is transmitted to Congress for a designated review period before it can be enacted, but without a Speaker, the review period cannot even begin," tweeted Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., on Thursday.

A member of the D.C. Council also tweeted about the holdup.

"Until House Republicans get their act together, new DC laws cannot take effect. And hard-working DC residents who work for House Committees risk losing their pay," said Janeese Lewis George. "Republicans always want to impose their will on DC, but they can’t even run their own caucus."

D.C. law requires legislation passed by the D.C. Council to be submitted to Congress for a review period, but because there's no speaker yet, there is no functioning Congress, as lawmakers can’t be sworn in until after someone is chosen for the position. As a result, none of the new laws can take effect.

Reporters appear to be live tweeting the GOP conference call

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Members of the Capitol press corps were live-tweeting what was being said on the House GOP Conference call Friday morning.

One reporter, Politico’s Olivia Beavers, wrote on Twitter that McCarthy asked reporters to get off the call, adding that Republicans don’t have a deal for the speaker election.

Other reporters said McCarthy told his rank-and-file members to stop leaking information to reporters about the conference call discussion.

This came after reporters shared contradictory information about whether McCarthy had struck an agreement with his opponents. The California Republican then reiterated that he does not have a deal.

‘I’m not even a congressman’: House lawmakers and staffers can’t function while speaker fight drags on

WASHINGTON — There is no speaker of the House. There are no active House lawmakers. There are no House committees.

At the moment, there is no functioning U.S. House of Representatives.

The four-day-long Republican standoff over Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s speaker bid has meant that none of the 434 people elected to the House in November have been sworn in, leaving children and spouses who traveled to Washington to celebrate with the members-elect floating around the marbled building waiting for something, anything, to happen.

Freshman members-elect haven’t been able to set up their House email. Committees, now controlled by Republicans, haven’t been able to hire new staffers. And lawmakers have lost their security clearances and are forbidden to receive sensitive information or enter secure briefing rooms known as SCIFs — because they aren’t technically members.

Read the full story here.

House GOP to regroup for 10:15 a.m. conference call 

House Republicans will huddle again this morning as they head into a fourth day of voting. Instead of another in-person meeting, they will hold a 10:15 a.m ET conference call with rank and file to go over the deal. 

McCarthy, foes inch closer to a deal as speaker standoff enters Day 4

Ali Vitali

Scott Wong and Ali Vitali

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy and his conservative detractors on Wednesday night inched closer to a deal designed to flip some no votes to the yes column. But it appears unlikely such an agreement would give McCarthy the 218 votes he needs to win the speaker’s gavel.

A handful of hard-line conservatives, led by Florida GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz, said they remained bent on derailing McCarthy’s bid for speaker. And because of the GOP’s new razor-thin majority, McCarthy can only afford four GOP defections on any speaker vote.

“If Kevin McCarthy doesn’t bow out, then he will have to live the entirety of his speakership in a straightjacket constructed by these rules that we’re working on now,” Gaetz said in a Fox News appearance Thursday night, nodding to efforts to water down McCarthy’s power. “We have zero trust in Kevin McCarthy," he said, adding, "This is someone whose compass is like a wet finger in the wind."

Still, there were signs that McCarthy and leaders of the far-right Freedom Caucus were on the cusp of a breakthrough that could shake loose more votes for McCarthy — and shift momentum in his favor.

Read the full story here.

Gaetz says he's been talking to Democrats to keep them on the floor

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., said Thursday night on Fox News that his goal in discussions with Democrats has been to make sure they don't leave the chamber and alter the vote count.

"My conversations with Democrats have largely been about making sure that they don’t leave the floor for dinner or fundraisers or whatnot," Gaetz, a leader of the group of conservatives opposing Kevin McCarthy for speaker, told host Laura Ingraham.

"We need them to stay there so that the denominator in the equation on the election of a speaker allows us to have leverage to push for many of the things we’ve been discussing," including things like the budget, term limits and committee assignments, he said.

Questioned about members of the conservative opposition sending fundraising emails based on their votes against McCarthy, Gaetz said, "I’ve sent out similar emails, and the reason is because pro-McCarthy groups have actually been running robocalls in our districts trying to pressure us and leverage us." He added, "It is not the end of the world that we take a few extra days or maybe even a couple of weeks to sort this out."

If members are not present for votes, it would lower the threshold McCarthy, of California, needs to win a majority and become House speaker. Democratic leadership, however, has been whipping members to make sure they vote as a unified bloc against McCarthy as they continue to nominate their leader, Hakeem Jeffries of New York, for the position.

Arriving to Capitol Friday, McCarthy predicts 'progress' in his favor

McCarthy arrived to the Capitol on Friday morning telling reporters that he thinks there will be "progress" that will benefit his bid for speaker.

"We’re going to make progress, we’re gonna shock you!" McCarthy said.

The California Republican, however, acknowledged that Friday may not be the day for his election because there are lawmakers absent, including for family obligations.

Gaetz says Trump is 'wrong' for supporting McCarthy in speaker's race

GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, a longtime Trump loyalist, said Thursday night that he was "not going to back" the former president in his support for McCarthy.

“President Trump is wrong to the extent that he supports Kevin McCarthy,” Gaetz, who nominated and voted for Trump on the House floor Thursday, told Fox News’ Laura Ingraham. “I am not going to back him on this play.”

When asked about the concessions in a potential deal and what else he might demand, Gaetz responded, “I wouldn’t be betting on my vote for Kevin McCarthy under almost any circumstance.”

Gaetz went on to say that he would support Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio if McCarthy were to bow out of the race, adding that he believed Jordan "would win" in that scenario. McCarthy, however, has given no indication that he's planning to throw in the towel, and Jordan has backed McCarthy in his bid for speaker.