House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rep. Pete Aguilar called out Republicans on Wednesday for the ‘chaos and confusion’ seen so far this week as they work to find a consensus House speaker candidate.
‘For the first time in one hundred years, there was not an agreement for speaker of the House on the first ballot. Multiple ballots, and almost 24 hours later, there’s still no clear sign of a speaker,’ Aguilar said. ‘We want to work with reasonable Republicans and continue our record of bipartisan legislative achievements in this Congress, but we need willing partners… and right now those willing partners are in short supply.’
On Tuesday, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., failed to earn the majority of votes needed to become House speaker. Twenty House Freedom Caucus Republicans are opposing McCarthy, including Reps. Matt Gaetz, R- Fla., and Lauren Boebert, R-Colo.
The holdouts are demanding that the next House speaker commit to process reforms that would reduce the power of the speaker’s office and say McCarthy has refused to make those concessions.
‘What we saw was the true character of the modern-day Republican Party. Obsessed with power and their own personal advancement at the expense of working families and the needs of every day Americans,’ Aguilar said.
While the speakership remains in the balance, members-elect are in a holding pattern to take the oath of office, set committee assignments and staff hires, and other governing necessities.
‘This is a crisis of the Congress. And it’s a crisis at the hands of the Republican dysfunction.’ Aguilar said.
Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., added the House Republicans are in a state of ‘chaos, confusion and crisis.’
‘We essentially don’t have a House of Representatives. This can’t keep on going. You can’t have one branch of federal government simply not function,’ Lieu said.
‘I hope that Republicans are able to nominate and unify behind one person, whoever that may be. Because we need Republicans to govern if they can. If they cannot, they should let Democrats govern,’ Lieu said.
On Wednesday the House will reconvene to continue the process of electing a new speaker.
Fox News’ Kelly Phares and Chris Pandolfo contributed to this report.