January 3, 2023 Latest on the new Congress and House speaker vote

By Elise Hammond, Aditi Sangal, Maureen Chowdhury and Tori B. Powell, CNN

Updated 10:57 p.m. ET, January 3, 2023
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10:29 p.m. ET, January 3, 2023

McCarthy says he won't drop out of race for speaker

From CNN's Manu Raju, Kristin Wilson and Annie Grayer

Rep. Kevin McCarthy said late Tuesday there is no scenario under which he will drop out of the race for House speaker.

“It's not going to happen,” McCarthy said.

The House GOP leader told reporters he believes he is “not that far away” from clinching the votes, saying he only needed "11 more votes to win,” implying that he thinks he can get a number of members to vote present. 

McCarthy said he spoke to former President Donald Trump on Tuesday night and that the former president “reiterated support.” 

 “He thinks it is better that all the Republicans get together and solve this,” McCarthy said of Trump. “It doesn't look good for Republicans, but we want to be able to solve it when we're stronger in the long run. What we went through today, in the end, becomes a positive that we're actually focused, united, much more.” 

As to why the House adjourned after three rounds of voting for speaker, McCarthy said, “I didn’t think we were going to get any more productive by continuing on the day."

10:21 p.m. ET, January 3, 2023

Rep. Patrick McHenry says more negotiations are needed but he's confident McCarthy will be speaker

From CNN's Annie Grayer, Manu Raju and Ted Barrett

GOP Rep. Patrick McHenry emerged from Kevin McCarthy’s office Tuesday night and said there is a “longer process of negotiation” that needs to happen within the GOP conference, but that he is still confident McCarthy will ultimately be elected speaker.  

McHenry even said he believes some of the 20 lawmakers who voted against McCarthy will come around. “Not 100% of them," he said. "But I don't need 100% of them."

McHenry said there needs to be “a clear understanding” about what offers were made going into today, and now that 20 members have come out in opposition to McCarthy, “we have to have a wider group of members understand what the tradeoffs are, what they look like, and the opportunity for the conference to come to terms with getting the 20 on board.” 

“So this is a longer process of negotiation than just a narrow group, talking to a person,” he said.

McCarthy dropping out is “not on the table,” McHenry said.

“He's built the goodwill within this conference. And he is the nominee. We're going to see this thing through. That is the goal. And that's how we're working with the people available to vote for him," he said. 

Rep. Bruce Westerman echoed McHenry's sentiment that McCarthy will not drop out of the race.

He told CNN that he met with the GOP leader and described him as "upbeat."

"I have not seen him dejected," Westerman said.

The Arkansas Republican said he too believes McCarthy will turn it around, but acknowledged that he didn't know exactly how it would happen.

"I think there's opportunities to get that headed back in the right direction," he said of McCarthy's vote count.

McCarthy failed to secure enough support to win the speakership after three rounds of voting on Tuesday — and lawmakers decided to postpone future votes until Wednesday.

8:39 p.m. ET, January 3, 2023

Trump declines to reiterate McCarthy endorsement despite appeals from McCarthy allies

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins

Former President Donald Trump declined to issue a statement Monday to reiterate his endorsement of Rep. Kevin McCarthy as House speaker, despite a behind-the-scenes effort from several of McCarthy's allies to get Trump to do so, according to two sources familiar with what happened. 

Trump has not rescinded his endorsement of McCarthy, and ultimately may not, but the former president is watching closely as the dynamic plays out on Capitol Hill.

His silence as McCarthy faced three failed votes did not go unnoticed as Trump privately seemed to side with the hardliners against McCarthy in some conversations Tuesday, according to one of the sources. 

It's important to note that Trump made calls on McCarthy's behalf to those hardliners Monday.

8:32 p.m. ET, January 3, 2023

Analysis: How the Capitol drama is turning into a horror show

From CNN's Zachary B. Wolf

(Francis Chung/POLITICO/AP Images)
(Francis Chung/POLITICO/AP Images)

There’s a slow-motion, open-ended drama playing out on the floor of the House in which Republicans cannot come behind a speaker – one of the most powerful and important jobs in US government, and the prize they won with a slim House majority.

And Congress can’t function until it has a House speaker. Nobody knows how this will end.

Here's how the Capitol drama is turning into a horror show:

20-member roadblock. It’s a story of how 20 Republican lawmakers, despite obtaining most of their demands from Rep. Kevin McCarthy, simply will not support the man. The first two votes started with 19 holdouts but grew to 20 in the third vote.

Can't 'close the deal.' Some small cracks in McCarthy’s support were starting to show in the third vote, after 4 p.m. ET, when Rep. Byron Donalds of Florida jumped camps from supporting McCarthy earlier in the day to backing Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio.

By backing Jordan, Donalds joined the original 19, including people like Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida, Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Rep. Chip Roy of Texas and Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona, who are equally committed.

'Sold himself.' Gaetz, in nominating Jordan before the second round of voting, stood right in front of McCarthy and accused him of having “sold himself” in the quest for the speaker post.

This drama – or sideshow, if that’s how you view it – does presage a very difficult year for the ultimate speaker in which the debt ceiling must be raised to avert an economic meltdown.

Read more:

8:51 p.m. ET, January 3, 2023

House GOP not now expected to hold conference meeting Wednesday morning

From CNN's Manu Raju and Melanie Zanona

As Kevin McCarthy scrambles to find a path out of the current stalemate, the GOP leadership tells CNN that – as of Tuesday night – there is no longer a conference meeting scheduled for tomorrow morning.

Sources earlier had said a House GOP leadership meeting was expected Wednesday morning to hash out their disagreements and find a way forward.

Meanwhile, talks continue tonight, with McCarthy in his office making calls, sources said.

Allies say the GOP House leader is not dropping out and is still prepared to grind this out.

McCarthy failed to secure enough support to win the speakership after three rounds of voting on Tuesday — and lawmakers decided to postpone future votes until Wednesday.

The headline and story have been updated to reflect the latest news on the conference meeting.

7:43 p.m. ET, January 3, 2023

Hakeem Jeffries says he does not want to help Republicans out of their "dysfunction"

From CNN's Annie Grayer

Jeffries, accompanied by incoming House Minority Whip Rep. Katherine Clark,  and incoming Incoming Democratic Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar, speaks at a news conference  on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, January 3.
Jeffries, accompanied by incoming House Minority Whip Rep. Katherine Clark, and incoming Incoming Democratic Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar, speaks at a news conference on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, January 3. (Andrew Harnik/AP)

Incoming House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries told reporters he is not willing at this point to help Republicans elect a speaker. 

“We are looking for a willing partner to solve problems for the American people, not save the Republicans from their dysfunction,” Jeffries said. 

Jeffries said he has not had any outreach from Republican leadership or individuals on the other side of the aisle “with respect to the chaos crisis and confusion that we saw unfold before the American people today.”

7:41 p.m. ET, January 3, 2023

McCarthy supporter says he sees two ways forward: Negotiate with critics or team up with Democrats

From CNN's Melanie Zanona

With a harsh reality setting in, Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s supporters acknowledge they will have to do more than just keep voting for him on multiple ballots and hope the critics back down. 

The only path forward for McCarthy, one lawmaker said, is he “negotiates with the 20 or looks for ways to get bipartisan support," referring to the 20 Republicans who voted for Rep. Jim Jordan in opposition to McCarthy during the third round of voting Tuesday.

McCarthy, however, has ruled out courting the support of Democrats, while Democrats said they won’t bail him out. Theoretically, Democrats could vote present or not show up, which would lower the threshold McCarthy needs to be speaker, but they would certainly demand something in return.

As far as negotiating with his GOP opposition, McCarthy has already given them almost every concession they have asked for. So he doesn’t have many more cards to play. 

In other words, it’s a difficult and narrow path ahead for McCarthy, with his hardline critics digging and feeling more emboldened.

7:08 p.m. ET, January 3, 2023

McCarthy is negotiating with lawmakers Tuesday night in pursuit of speakership

From CNN's Manu Raju

Kevin McCarthy speaks with lawmakers on the House floor on Tuesday.
Kevin McCarthy speaks with lawmakers on the House floor on Tuesday. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

A source familiar with Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s thinking tells CNN “negotiations are ongoing” Tuesday night but declined to comment further.

The House adjourned after McCarthy failed to reach the majority needed to be elected speaker three times.

The CNN team outside McCarthy’s office has also observed a large number of pizzas being wheeled in.

7:12 p.m. ET, January 3, 2023

GOP moderates already laying groundwork for far-fetched team-up with Democrats

From CNN's Melanie Zanona, Annie Grayer and Manu Raju

Moderate Republicans are already laying the groundwork for far-fetched plans of how to potentially team up with Democrats in the coming days if the dynamics with the 20 GOP holdouts remain.

Democrats have said they do not want to help Kevin McCarthy become speaker and are facing pressure not to cave. But even the whispers among Republicans show how desperate the situation could be.

One way GOP lawmakers are considering teaming up with Democrats is to get them to vote present or not show up, sources say.

The source added there have even been rogue conversations between rank-and-file Democrats and Republicans about what concessions it would take for Democrats to vote present or not show.

GOP Rep. Don Bacon, a firm McCarthy supporter, told CNN he is willing to stay in these rounds of voting but “at some point” he believes Republicans should discuss with Democrats how they find a concession candidate and path forward, which could include “committee leveling.”