After tellers finished tallying votes from the eighth voting round, House Clerk Cheryl Johnson again announced that “a speaker has not been elected,” setting up a ninth ballot to elect a speaker.
The speaker election for the 118th Congress is now tied with the 1923 contest for the most ballots since before the Civil War.
Rep. Troy Nehls of Texas nominated McCarthy this round, and addressed his remarks to the American people, “who have been watching these proceedings and are concerned about what they’ve seen in this chamber over the past two days.”
Nehls, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, said many of the concerns raised by the group of 20 McCarthy foes have been “addressed and accepted” by him.
“I believe this battle we are waging must end,” he said, noting McCarthy has agreed to make changes to House rules, including lowering the threshold to bring a motion to vacate the chair, which would allow a single member to call for a vote to oust the speaker.
The motion, Nehls said, allows the Republican conference to hold the speaker accountable.
“The American people gave us, my friends, us, the Republicans, the majority, and their vote of confidence to change the direction of our country,” he said. “The American people are begging for leadership.”
After Nehls made the case for McCarthy, Rep. Ted Lieu of California, the vice chair of the Democratic caucus, rose to nominate Jeffries.
“Democrats are unified to tackle the climate crisis, while Republicans are mired in their own leadership crisis,” he said. “Madam clerk, House Democrats are ready, willing and able to get to work for the American people. We will do so under the leadership of Hakeem Jeffries, who has a plan for the American people.”
GOP Rep. Matt Rosendale of Montana then delivered remarks nominating Donalds for speaker, lamenting that over the past 15 years, “the voices that were sent here to equally, to equally represent each of the 435 districts across this nation have become diminished” through a consolidation of power to the speaker and members of the House Rules Committee.
“We have had more discussion and debate over the last three days than I have participated in on this floor for the last two years, and it’s healthy,” Rosendale said.
Acknowledging that “change is uncomfortable,” he said changes are necessary in a “broken system.”
Rep. Lauren Boebert then rose to nominate Republican Rep. Kevin Hern for speaker, formally throwing his name into the mix after she voted for him in the eighth round.
“There was a gut check that said we need someone that is going to convince my colleagues on this side of the aisle that it’s time to get going, it’s time to build momentum. Many of you have said it,” Boebert said. “You see that Kevin McCarthy does not have the votes. You are understanding that he is not going to get there.”
The Colorado Republican said the House needs to begin to “evaluate what life after Kevin McCarthy looks like.” Hern, she said, has “lived the American dream” and can unify the party while delivering results.
“We can have a happy warrior leading us,” she said.