U.S. House adjourns as McCarthy seeks to flip more Republican holdouts to break speakership impasse

2023-01-07 09:03:53Xinhua Editor : Liu Yimeng ECNS App Download

The U.S. House of Representatives has adjourned until late Friday night as Congressman Kevin McCarthy is seeking to flip more Republican holdouts to overcome the embarrassing speakership impasse.

McCarthy, a Republican from California, picked up more than a dozen votes from conservative hardliners on Friday afternoon but still failed to clinch the necessary votes to be elected the new House speaker.

"I'll have the votes," McCarthy told reporters on Capitol Hill after the House adjourned to allow more time for negotiations. "I believe we'll have the votes to finish this once and for all."

Among the offers that McCarthy has made to win over his opponents include lowering the threshold to force a vote on ousting the House speaker.

Six House Republicans, including Congressmen Andy Biggs of Arizona and Matt Gaetz of Florida, are still opposed to McCarthy's bid to become speaker after the longest contest in 164 years.

All House Democrats have voted for Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, a Democrat from New York, to be speaker in the election.

Though it's unlikely for Jeffries to attain the position, he is set to become the first African American lawmaker to lead a party in either chamber of the U.S. Congress.

With the historic deadlock dragging on, the House remains paralyzed three days after the new and divided 118th Congress convened. Newly-elected and re-elected U.S. senators were sworn in on Tuesday.

On Friday morning, House Democrats and reportedly only one Republican gathered on the steps of the Capitol, located at the eastern end of the National Mall in Washington, D.C., to mark the second anniversary of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack.

"The Jan. 6 insurrection shook our republic to the core," U.S. Congresswoman and former top House Democrat Nancy Pelosi said. "For many in the Congress and across our country, the physical, psychological, and emotional scars are still raw."

Exactly two years ago, a large group of supporters of outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump violently stormed the Capitol and disrupted a joint session of Congress to affirm the results of the 2020 presidential election in which Democrat Joe Biden won.

Some of the rioters chanted "Hang Mike Pence" while making their way into the Capitol. Pence, then U.S. vice president presiding over the procedure to formally verify Biden's victory, was rushed out of the building by Secret Service agents to a secure location.

Panicked lawmakers took shelter and crouched behind chairs in the House gallery after the chaos broke out and shocked the United States and the rest of the world.

Approximately 140 police officers were assaulted in the worst attack on the U.S. Capitol in more than 200 years to which at least five deaths have been linked. Over 900 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the landmark complex.

At a ceremony in the White House on Friday, Biden awarded the "Presidential Citizens Medal" to law enforcement and state and local officials who, the White House said, defended the U.S. Capitol and upheld the integrity of the 2020 election.

"We know it could happen again," Biden said of the Capitol riot from the White House, adding that "we face an inflection point" in the nation's history.

Trump, who refused to concede to Biden after the 2020 election and pushed the unsubstantiated claim that their face-off was rigged, was impeached by the Democratic-led House for incitement of insurrection a historic second time before he left office on Jan. 20, 2021. The Senate, evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans at that time, acquitted him later.

A House special committee led by Democrats launched an 18-month investigation into the Jan. 6 attack and issued a "final report" last month, alleging and detailing a "multistep effort" devised and driven by Trump to overturn the 2020 presidential election and block the transfer of power.

The panel, which is poised to be dissolved by House Republicans, accused Trump of inciting an insurrection, conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to make a false statement, and obstruction of an official proceeding, and made criminal referrals to the Department of Justice.

The criminal referrals are not legally binding, and it is up to the Department of Justice to decide whether to pursue charges. Federal prosecutors are running a separate probe into the Capitol riot.

Trump, who launched a third bid for the White House after the 2022 midterms, has strongly slammed the House investigators and their report, stating that they "did not produce a single shred of evidence that I in any way intended or wanted violence at our Capitol" and that the events of Jan. 6 "were not an insurrection" but "a protest that got tragically out of control." 


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