'It's a sad day for the American people." Rep. Lawler frustrated by lack of votes for McCarthy as House speaker
It was a chaotic start to the new Congress that could serve as a bad sign of things to come as infighting between Republicans left the House at a standstill.
The vote to name the next House speaker went multiple rounds Tuesday night and ended without a resolution for the first time in a century.
Three rounds of voting failed to elect party leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy as the new speaker, despite Republicans holding a slim majority.
Reps. Marc Molinaro and Mike Lawler both voted in favor of McCarthy.
Lawler took aim at the party's most conservative members for delaying the process.
"It's time for everybody to unify. It's time for everybody to move forward because the reality is the American people didn't elect us to fight over rules,” Lawler said.
Not electing a speaker means lawmakers like Lawler were not sworn in on Tuesday.
"I would have preferred to be sworn in, but look we will get about the business of the American people in short order,” he said.
Democrats, including Hudson Valley Rep. Jamaal Bowman and Pat Ryan, rallied behind party leader New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries. Jefferies garnered the most votes of any of the speaker candidates, but still not enough to grasp the gavel.
"It's a sad day for the House of Representatives as an institution. It's a sad day for democracy. It's a sad day for the American people,” Jefferies said.
It's unclear how Republicans will pivot, whether those who broke from the ranks will eventually back McCarthy or if it'll take another person to convince the party.
As for Lawler, he said he's ready to get going with working on the priorities he said got him elected in the first place like affordability, crime, and the southern border.
The House is expected to resume voting Wednesday at noon following hours of closed-door negotiations.