Day 714: "We better come together."
1/ The House adjourned without a speaker because Kevin McCarthy failed to win a majority in three rounds of voting and 20 Republicans rejected his candidacy. Until a speaker is elected, the 118th Congress can’t swear in members or perform actual work, like consider legislation or create committee assignments. A nominee needs a majority of the House to win the speakership – 218 votes with all members present and participating – and voting will continue until someone gets a majority. In the third round of voting, McCarthy received 202 votes and Jim Jordan received 20. Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries received 212 Democratic votes. Before the third round of voting, Jordan called on Republicans to unite behind McCarthy, saying: “We better come together. I think Kevin McCarthy is the right guy to lead us. I really do.” McCarthy, however, lost support from one GOP lawmaker on the third ballot. McCarthy, meanwhile, acknowledged that voting “could” last for days and vowed to press ahead, saying: “we stay in until we win.” The speaker vote hasn’t gone to a second ballot since 1923, and of the 14 multiple ballot-elections for House speaker, 13 occurred before the Civil War. (Bloomberg / Washington Post / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / CNN / Politico / NPR / Associated Press / NBC News / ABC News)
2/ New York Republican George Santos – who admitted to making up his resume – is set to be sworn in as a member of the House as Brazilian authorities say they plan to reopen a 15-year-old fraud charge against Santos, now that they know where he is. The House, however, can’t swear in new members until a speaker is elected. Santos has admitted to what he calls “resume embellishment” about his education, work experience, and heritage, including a claim that his grandparents survived the Holocaust. The Rio de Janeiro prosecutor’s office, meanwhile, allege that Santos spent $700 at a clothing store in 2008 using a stolen checkbook and a false name. Although Santos admitted in a post on social media to stealing the checkbook of a man his mother was caring for, the Representative-elect now asserts that he is not a criminal “here or in Brazil.” While Democrats have demanded that Santos resign, Republican congressional leaders, including Kevin McCarthy, have been silent. (New York Times / Associated Press / Washington Post / Politico / CNN / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg)
3/ House Republicans plan to limit the ethics office’s ability to investigate lawmakers. The Office of Congressional Ethics is a nonpartisan, independent body tasked with investigating complaints of misconduct about sitting members and staff. House Republicans, however, plan to place term limits on the eight-person OCE board, require the approval of four board members for new hires, and allow the House Ethics Committee to take complaints directly from the public. (Wall Street Journal / Washington Post)
4/ Six years of Trump’s federal tax returns were released last week. Trump received income from more than a dozen countries during his time in office and paid little in federal income taxes the first and last year of his presidency, claiming large losses that he carried forward to reduce or practically eliminate his tax burden. Trump paid $641,931 in federal income taxes in 2015 – the year he began his presidential campaign – he paid $750 in 2016 and 2017, and nearly $1 million in 2018. In 2019, Trump paid $133,445 and nothing in 2020. The documents also appear to show that Trump violated his campaign promise to donate his $400,000 salary for each year that he served as president. In 2020, Trump reported $0 in charitable giving. (CNN / Politico / New York Times / Washington Post / CNBC / Associated Press)
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