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By Thursday evening, Kevin McCarthy had lost eleven votes for Speaker of the House, the longest series of inconclusive ballots for the role since 1859. Until the next Speaker is selected, nothing can happen in the House of Representatives: no new legislation, no top-secret briefings, not even paychecks for lawmakers. McCarthy’s fate remained unclear when the staff writers Susan B. Glasser, Jane Mayer, and Evan Osnos gathered for their weekly conversation, on Friday morning. Whatever the outcome, they say, the entire saga is instructive about the current state of the Republican Party—who wields true power, what the role of big money is, and even what the next two years of divided government might look like.