Kevin McCarthy has already moved into the speaker’s office, even though an influential conservative group is telling members to vote against him if he doesn’t agree to essential changes to the rules.
In less than 24 hours, the House will start voting on who will be speaker, and McCarthy still doesn’t have the 218 votes he needs. And his last-ditch efforts, like giving his conference a long list of concessions over the weekend, haven’t done much to change the minds of his most vocal critics.
McCarthy said that the changes he made to the House rules would help him get more support, but his critics and opponents spent Monday coming up with new things to say about him. “Why didn’t McCarthy’s proposed set of rules come to us at least three days in advance?” Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC), who is part of the Freedom Caucus, tweeted about it.
Choosing a speaker is usually a big deal, and the vote is usually set weeks or even months ahead of time. But unless his opponents suddenly change their minds, McCarthy’s bid for the gavel will lead to a rare showdown. It would be only the second time since the Civil War that the race could go on for more than one vote.
In fact, many Republicans are getting ready for votes that could take several days because McCarthy’s supporters say they will only vote for him. Five conservatives say they will vote against him, but there is no clear alternative. McCarthy met briefly with Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), one of his most vocal opponents and Reps. Neither Scott Perry (R-Pa.) nor Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) said they would vote for the California Republican.
But before the meeting, Gaetz joked that they might be “on the verge of a New Year’s miracle.” After the meeting, he said that it was “brief and productive” and, most importantly, that he and five others are still “no” votes.
The conservative Club for Growth put out a whip notice for the speakership vote on Monday. It called for a “no” vote on McCarthy, without naming him if he didn’t agree to specific rules that his opponents, many of whom are members of the House Freedom Caucus, were pushing for.
These lawmakers wanted to let any one member force a vote on the House floor to get rid of the speaker. The Club for Growth also agreed with these members that McCarthy’s campaign committee, the Congressional Leadership Fund, shouldn’t be allowed to “spend money or give grants to any Super PAC to engage… in open Republican primaries or against any Republican incumbent.” The group was also upset that there were not enough “true conservatives” in leadership.
McCarthy called a meeting of dozens of his supporters on Monday night to discuss dealing with the new signs of trouble. GOP members said the meeting was meant to get his supporters fired up. It was the first time they met in the speaker’s office, and McCarthy promised to fight no matter how many ballots it took.
Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), who was at the meeting, said, “There are still a few things up in the air.” “[However], I think he gets it. When is the question.” McCarthy works in the speaker’s office on Monday, even though she doesn’t have the gavel yet. This is a normal thing for the speaker-elect to do. He will have to leave the critical office if he doesn’t make it.
Republicans are getting ready for a long and hard day on Tuesday. Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-ND), who was close to McCarthy, said that Republicans would keep going “as long as it takes.” He also said that the first vote would give some early clues about how the day would go.
“Because of how the alphabet works, you’ll know pretty quickly after the first vote. “Then we’ll figure out how it works,” Armstrong said, referring to the alphabetical way members are called to vote. Armstrong said that the night would be “long.” When asked if that meant voting would go on until early Wednesday morning, he joked, “January 10th?”
McCarthy’s opponents are using Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) as a symbol of their anger. Biggs said McCarthy is in “total bargaining mode,” but he doesn’t think McCarthy “will ever get to 218 votes.”
McConnell wants McCarthy to be House speaker and is “pulling” for him. Others gave more vague answers: “Some people who run campaigns against the swamp are quick to give up when (to varying degrees) the swamp is challenged…” Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) said this on Twitter on Monday.
McCarthy’s opponents are taking a hard line, but some of McCarthy’s supporters are bringing up old threats.
McCarthy ally Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) said on Monday that his previous warning that a group of moderate Republicans would work with Democrats to elect a moderate GOP speaker if conservatives get rid of McCarthy is still on the table. “If a few won’t be part of the 218 members we need to govern, we’ll find other ways to get to 218,” Bacon wrote in an opinion piece for the Daily Caller.
Some Republicans have suggested that Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) could replace McCarthy if he didn’t win, but McCarthy’s No. 2 says he will support him. But on Monday night, Bacon told reporters that if McCarthy stepped down, he and a group of people from both sides of the aisle would put forward another name besides Scalise.
“I like Steve, but…” I don’t think it’s fair to say that we want Kevin’s head, so we’ll take Steve instead. Bacon said, “I think you’re giving the people who took the hostage ransom money by doing that.”
I sincerely hope that you find value in this piece we have written. If that’s the case, we’d love to hear your insights in the space provided below—Mark this page and Journalistpr.com. in your browser’s bookmarks for further developments.