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The swearing-in of new House members on the opening day of the 118th Congress was delayed as the fight for who will serve as Speaker drags on.

“Still not sworn in because the Republicans are having a hard time picking their leader,” Rep.-elect Maxwell Frost (D-Fla.) tweeted after it became apparent that Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was not going to win the Speakership after a second ballot. “This is a snapshot of how they’ll operate for the next two years.”

It is customary for new members to bring family and friends to the House floor to witness the swearing-in. But as the Speaker contest dragged on, audience members began to fall asleep and leave the chamber.

New House members will not be sworn in until lawmakers elect a Speaker, though some newly elected members have already made an impact.

Members are seen during the first day of the 118th session of Congress

Members are seen during the first day of the 118th session of Congress on Tuesday, January 3, 2023.

Four of the Republicans who have refused to support McCarthy through the first three Speaker votes are incoming first-year lawmakers: Reps.-elect Josh Brecheen (Okla.), Anna Paulina Luna (Fla.), Andy Ogles (Tenn.) and Keith Self (Texas). 

According to an itinerary of the first day of Congress, the election of the Speaker was supposed to be followed by remarks by the Speaker-elect, the swearing-in of members and the adoption of House rules. But the state of the race for Speaker has put all of that business on hold. 

After the third voting session, McCarthy had 20 Republicans vote against him and hold him back from the 218 votes he needed to succeed. Those lawmakers cast their votes for Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who has continued to vote for McCarthy.