On Tuesday, January 3rd, members of Congress assembled to begin the 118th Congress. In the Senate, the process was smooth, with Leadership elections held in November and December confirming Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) as the Senate Majority Leader and Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) as Minority Leader. The Senate Steering Committees will now begin finalizing Committee assignments, returning to session on Monday, January 23, 2023.
The House, likewise, convened Tuesday, January 3, 2023, with the first order of business being the election of the Speaker for the 118th Congress. Today marks the fourth day of voting, with 13 votes thus far yielding no resolution on the Speakership. California House Member Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) and New York House Member Hakeem Jefferies (D-New York) have been the frontrunning nominees throughout the process, with McCarthy struggling to gain the majority needed to seal the outcome. The thirteenth vote marked the first time this week that no member of McCarthy’s party nominated an alternative candidate for the position, causing speculation that opposition is waning.
The House of Representatives has adjourned until 10:00 p.m. Friday evening, at which time they will reconvene to continue voting. Until the matter of the Speakership is resolved, the members of the House of Representatives cannot be sworn in, and the rules for the 118th Congress cannot be adopted, leaving one half of the legislative body currently unable to govern.