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After two days of failure, U.S. House Republicans to try again to pick a leader


WASHINGTON, Jan 5 (Reuters) – Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives will try for a third day on Thursday to select a leader after six failed votes have highlighted internal divisions and raised questions about their ability to govern.

The chamber’s top Republican, Kevin McCarthy, has failed to secure the majority needed for the powerful post of House speaker, as a faction of hard-line conservatives has refused to support him despite pressure from high-profile supporters like former President Donald Trump.

McCarthy, from California, led his party’s successful effort to win control of the chamber in the November 2022 midterm elections.

But his opponents view him as a dealmaker who may not have the stomach to force a showdown with President Joe Biden’s Democrats over government spending – their main point of leverage before the 2024 presidential election.

“Is he going to fight for us? Is he willing to shut the government down?” Representative Ralph Norman, one of at least 19 Republicans who have voted against him in every vote, told Reuters on Tuesday. “His history has not been that.”

McCarthy’s supporters, who outnumber opponents 10 to 1, have grown increasingly frustrated by their party’s inability to elect a leader, which is normally a routine vote at the outset of every two-year legislative session.

The delay has prevented individual lawmakers from taking their oaths of office and pursuing priorities like investigating the administration of the Democratic president.

“I’m getting a lot of messages from conservatives who are fed up with this,” said Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, a McCarty supporter who has developed a reputation as one of the most confrontational members of Congress.

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