It is the first time in 100 years that a nominee for House speaker failed to be appointed on the first vote with the process leaving the Republicans bitterly divided, despite taking control of the House in the recent elections.
Donald Trump has thrown his weight behind Kevin McCarthy to become the new House of Representatives speaker as chaos gripped the Republicans when hardliners blocked the appointment.
Republican bosses had planned to replace Democrat speaker Nancy Pelosi with party leader Mr. McCarthy after wrestling control of the House in the recent midterm elections
The group behind the rebellion – the ultraconservative Freedom caucus – are usually vocal backers of ex-president Mr. Trump, who has previously backed Mr. McCarthy for House speaker.
After three rounds of inconclusive voting, the House of Representatives adjourned without choosing a new speaker, blocking the House from carrying out its usual business until a new presiding officer is chosen.
Without a speaker, the House cannot fully form and cannot swear in its members, name its committee chairs and engage in floor proceedings.
The House is scheduled to vote again at midday on Wednesday, with Mr. McCarthy insisting he will not drop out.
“It’s not going to happen,” he said when asked if he would back down.
However, the rebels also showed no signs of ceding either, with Republican holdout Bob Good saying: “Kevin McCarthy is not going to be a speaker.”