History was made in a number of ways as the 118th Congress convened for the first time on Tuesday.
In the Senate, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky became the longest serving Senate leader in history. Meanwhile, the House of Representatives failed to elect a speaker in a single ballot, the first time in a century. Thanks to a divide among Republicans, California Rep. Kevin McCarthy — whom the party had nominated for the role in November — failed to secure the 218 votes necessary to win. Meanwhile, Democrats were unified in support for their leader, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York, for speaker — and many noted his historical nomination as the first Black lawmaker to lead a congressional chamber.
As for McCarthy, the future remains unclear, with 20 Republican defectors digging in their heels and voting for Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, who has repeatedly said he does not want the position.
Catie Dull photo edited this piece.
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Dustin Jones is a reporter for NPR's digital news desk. He mainly covers breaking news, but enjoys working on long-form narrative pieces.
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