Washington: The US House of Representatives hasn’t elected a new speaker as the election entered the third day.
US Congressman Kevin McCarthy from California, the House Republican leader, fell short of the necessary votes to take the gavel in two more rounds of voting on Thursday afternoon.
The 435-seat lower chamber — where Republicans have a slim majority over Democrats — is unable to conduct any legislative business until a speaker is elected.
The 118th Congress convened on Tuesday with newly-elected and re-elected senators sworn in while the House has been holding the speaker election for three days.
McCarthy has the support of most House Republicans and former US President Donald Trump but a handful of hardliners have pressured him to decentralize the speaker’s power.
It was the first time a House speaker — who maintains order, manages its proceedings, and governs the administration of its business on the lower chamber’s floor — hadn’t been elected on the first ballot in 100 years.
All House Democrats have voted for Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, a New York Democrat, 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 US Congress.
Republicans flipped the House in the 2022 midterm elections and Democrats held onto their majority in the Senate.
U.S. President Joe Biden said on Wednesday that it’s “embarrassing for the country” not to have a fully functional Congress, the legislature of the federal government.