Representative Kevin McCarthy, a Republican, just needs “one more” vote than Democratic Representative Hakeem Jeffries to be elected speaker of the House, according to Republican Senator Lindsey Graham.
On Wednesday, Graham made the assertion on Twitter as McCarthy faced resistance from his own party and the House failed to pick a speaker on the first ballot for the first time since 1923.
The South Carolina senator also sternly warned Republicans that Jeffries may eventually take over as speaker and stated what he believed would happen if that happened.
“What’s the point now? When Hakeem Jeffries receives 213 votes, one more than Kevin McCarthy, “Graham composed.
Some social media users criticised the number (213 votes), pointing out that McCarthy needed 218 votes to be elected speaker. A speaker must be chosen by a majority of the members present and voting. Ben Sheehan, the author of OMG, tweeted, “You’re a member of Congress and you don’t even know how many votes you need to be speaker?” Exactly What Does the Constitution Say?
McCarthy may possibly prevail by one vote, though, if enough House members abstain or cast “present” votes. Voting “present” or skipping the vote reduces the threshold needed to elect a speaker.
Former House Speakers John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi were both elected without receiving 218 votes.
When the House reconvenes at noon on Wednesday, it’s not yet known which of McCarthy’s Republican rivals will decide to abstain from voting in subsequent elections, while Jeffries is expected to keep all 212 Democratic votes.
Newsweek has requested a response from Graham’s office.
In a subsequent tweet, Graham added “Abolishing the Electoral College,” “Packing the Supreme Court,” and “Continued broken borders” to his earlier argument. “To those Republicans who suggest it is better to have Hakeem Jeffries as Speaker you must understand that means backing policies like: DC statehood, Puerto Rican statehood,” Graham wrote.
The senator said, “Trust me when I say the Senate’s legislative filibuster is dangling by a thread. “Hakeem Jeffries as Speaker is the last thing we need.”
Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Republican who opposes McCarthy’s campaign for speaker, tweeted in response to Graham’s first statement that Republicans preferred Jeffries: “Nobody is saying this.”
Currently, the House is made up of 434 people. Donald McEachin, a Democrat who was reelected in November, passed unexpectedly not long afterward, leaving his seat vacant.
On Tuesday’s third ballot, McCarthy received 202 votes, while Jeffries received 212 votes. Representative Jim Jordan received 20 Republican votes, despite the fact that he had already endorsed McCarthy.
Members of the House have not yet been sworn in or been able to approve a new set of rules, and there is presently no speaker. On Wednesday, a fourth ballot will be cast, followed by any more votes that might be required. Three days and nine ballots were cast in 1923.