This was the first time in a century that the U.S. House speaker was not elected on the first ballot. The House will have to vote on and on until a speaker is elected with a majority of votes. A candidate needs 218 votes to become speaker.
All House Democrats voted for Congressman Hakeem Jeffries from New York to lead the Democratic minority in the three rounds of voting on the speakership. It also followed the convening of the new and divided Congress on Tuesday noon.
"What we're witnessing today in American politics is just another brutal indictment of this dysfunctional political system," tweeted Jemele Hill, a contributing writer for The Atlantic.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters that U.S. President Joe Biden, a former six-term senator from Delaware, "will not insert himself in that process."
U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris presided over the opening day of the Senate -- where Democrats have a slim 51-49 majority over Republicans -- when she swore in 35 either newly elected or reelected senators Tuesday afternoon.
Chuck Schumer from New York and Mitch McConnell from Kentucky, both Senate veterans, remain the chamber's majority leader and minority leader, respectively.
Voting for a new leader of the US House of Representatives is expected to resume on Wednesday, a day after Congress was plunged into disarray when renegade right-wing Republicans blocked favorite Kevin McCarthy from becoming speaker in a series of votes … pic.twitter.com/RCATXtNS9S
U.S. Congressman-elect George Santos, a 34-year-old Republican from New York, is among those who are waiting to be sworn in after the speaker vote. Santos has recently admitted to lying about his educational history and professional biography but rejected bipartisan calls for him not to take office.
"My sins here are embellishing my resume. I'm sorry," embattled Santos acknowledged last week while alleging that the controversy would not deter him "from having good legislative success."
Former U.S. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard commented, "Washington has created a culture where it's acceptable to lie to further your own interest. But even when politicians do get caught, people just shrug their shoulders and move on. So, no one should be surprised that the American people don't trust these politicians."
Public trust in the U.S. Congress reached an all-time low, with only 7 percent of Americans expressing "a great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in it, according to a Gallup poll released in the summer of 2022.
The divided Congress with Republicans controlling the House is likely to stall Biden's legislative agenda in the next two years. Top House Republicans have also vowed to launch a series of investigations into the Democratic administration, poised to augment partisan discord on Capitol Hill.
U.S. Congressman Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from California, failed to secure enough votes in three ballots earlier in the day after a group of House Republicans voted against him.