Firebrand Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) wrote to the head of the federal agency responsible for operations at the US Capitol on Tuesday and asked how long before Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif) “is considered a squatter” in the speaker of the House’s office.
“What is the basis in law, House rule, or precedent to allow someone who has placed second in three successive speaker elections to occupy the Speaker of the House Office? How long will he remain there before he is considered a squatter?” Gaetz wrote in his letter to Architect of the Capitol Brett Blanton on Tuesday.
McCarthy and his staff had spent Monday moving belongings into the House speaker’s office formerly occupied by Rep. Nancy Pelsoi (D-Calif.). The Republican leader and his staff are reportedly already using the suite the US Capitol to work out of, which CNN reports is standard protocol.
McCarthy failed to obtain the required number of votes to be named House speaker on three ballots Tuesday before the House adjourned, leaving many wondering how long the power struggle will last.
“It seems Mr. McCarthy can no longer be considered Speaker-Designate following today’s balloting,” Gaetz added in his letter, which seeks a response from the architect as “promptly” as possible.
On the third and final ballot Tuesday, 20 Republicans voted for Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) to be House speaker over McCarthy, and all 212 Democrats chose Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY).
Without Democratic support, McCarthy can only stand to lose four Republicans in order to win the election.
The House is expected to move forward with a fourth round of voting on Wednesday.
Gaetz and nine other Republicans voted for conservative Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) to be House speaker on Tuesday’s first round of voting, before the Biggs coalition rallied around Jordan in the subsequent two rounds of voting.