Hudson Valley Congressmen stalled by lengthy battle for Speaker of the House

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WASHINGTON DC – Democratic Congressman-elect Pat Ryan (NY-18) and his GOP colleague, Marc Molinaro (NY-19), have not been sworn in as members of the 118th Congress, despite being elected to their seats in November.  Ryan and Molinaro, along with their 433 fellow US Representatives in the House cannot take their oath of office until a 218-member majority elects a new Speaker of the House.

Republicans took control of the House during the midterm elections.  There are 222 Republican members and 212 Democrats, with one vacancy.  Rep. Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, was considered to be the next Speaker prior to the new year.  McCarthy was confident enough that he would win the vote that he prematurely moved into the office of the Speaker of the House prior to the voting that began on Tuesday.

A small group of Republicans prevented McCarthy from winning the Speaker position.  Instead, Democrat  Hakeem Jeffries from Brooklyn has been the top vote-getter in each of the six votes that have been held as of Wednesday afternoon.  Jeffries has repeatedly received 212 votes with McCarthy receiving only 201 during the most recent balloting.

Congressman-elect Ryan said that the Democrats have repeatedly voted for Jeffries and will continue to do so.  Noting that no work can be done in Congress until a Speaker is elected, Ryan said, “Democrats have elected our leader (Jeffries)- House Republicans have to stop with the partisan games and elect theirs so we can get to work for the American people.”

Representative-elect Molinaro has been a steadfast supporter of McCarthy, even before arriving in Washington.  On Wednesday, after the fourth attempt by Republicans to elect McCarthy, he told Mid-Hudson News, “I was looking forward to being sworn in yesterday, unfortunately, that cannot happen until the House of Representatives elects a Speaker. We will take up this matter again today,” adding “I came to Congress to deliver results and I look forward to the important issues that lie still ahead.”

This is the first time in a century that a Speaker has not been elected on the first ballot.

House members reconvened Wednesday evening, but rather than take another vote, adjourning until noon on Thursday as McCarthy said there has been some progress in negotiations to break the statement in selecting a House speaker.