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Alabama's new Congressman-Elect remains in limbo following GOP disarray in the U.S. House

Alex Brandon/AP
Rep. Kevin McCarthy of Calif., talks with an aide as votes are cast for next Speaker of the House during the opening day of the 118th Congress at the U.S. Capitol, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Dale Strong is taking over for outgoing Alabama U.S. House member Mo Brooks—just not yet.

Brooks left office avoiding a recommendation for investigation by the House Ethics Committee for ignoring a subpoena from the January sixth committee on the attack on the U.S Capitol. That’s because he was leaving office. Now, Dale Strong is among the rookie Congressmen and woman waiting to be sworn into office while the U.S. House goes the, so far, unsuccessful effort to pick a Speaker.

The House will convene Wednesday as Republicans try again to elect a speaker for the new Congress. What was expected to be a day of triumph for the House GOP turned into chaos as fighting dragged within the narrow majority over who should lead them. Republicans failed to elect a speaker after Kevin McCarthy came short of overcoming opposition from the right flank of his party. The opposition from twenty lawmakers, including some of the chamber’s most conservative members, to McCarthy's speakership handicapped the House's ability swear-in freshmen members, like Dale Strong.

GOP lawmakers today will try once again to elect a speaker despite uncertainty over how McCarthy could rebound. He’s first House speaker nominee in a century to fail to win the gavel with his party in the majority. McCarthy received just two hundred and three in the first two rounds of voting on the first day. House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries received more votes in the GOP-controlled chamber. McCarthy did worse the second time around with two hundred and two votes.

A growing chorus of detractors warned for months that the California Republican did not have the votes to win.

Pat Duggins is news director for Alabama Public Radio.
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