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Kevin McCarthy again rejected as US House speaker

US House Republicans went through a long and grueling second day of balloting on Wednesday and still failed to elect their leader, Kevin McCarthy as House Speaker.

The House Republicans, who captured the chamber from the Democrats after winning a small majority in November’s mid-term elections, also could not come up with a new strategy to end the political chaos that has tarnished the start of their new majority in the lower House of Congress – a situation that last happened in 1923.

Yet, Mr McCarthy has not giving up, even after the fourth, fifth and sixth votes produced no better outcome, with the former House minority leader left trying to call off a nighttime session.

Even that was controversial, as the House voted 216 to 214 amid shouting and jostling to adjourn for the night.

“No deal yet,” Mr McCarthy said, shortly before he left a lengthy closed-door dinnertime meeting with key holdouts and his own allies, adding, “But a lot of progress”.

The ballots produced almost the same outcome, 20 conservative holdouts still refusing to support him and leaving him far short of the magic 218 votes needed to win the gavel.

Mr McCarthy, the California Republican, vowed to fight to the finish for the Speaker’s job despite the grueling spectacle, unlike any in modern times that threw the new majority into tumult for the first days of the new Congress.

Animated private discussions broke out on the chamber floor and in huddled meetings throughout the Capitol between McCarthy supporters and his detractors.

While for Democrats, who remain united behind their leader, Representative Hakeem Jeffries of New York, the apparent Republican dysfunction serves as an omen of what’s to come over the next few years.

Writing by Tersoo Nicholas