After losing a sixth round of voting for House speaker on Wednesday, Kevin McCarthy proposed more key concessions to get 218 votes. For example, he agreed to propose a change to the rules that would let just one member call for a vote to get rid of the current speaker, according to two people familiar with the situation.
McCarthy is having trouble finding a way forward with the House not meeting again until Thursday at noon ET, so this is a big step in the right direction. A group of conservatives who don’t like McCarthy has stopped the House GOP majority from moving forward. The fight, which started on the first day of the 118th Congress, has thrown the new House GOP majority into chaos and hurt the party’s plans.
The House won’t be able to do anything until this fight is over. McCarthy’s political future is in trouble because his Republican allies are starting to worry that the House GOP leader might not be able to win his gamble for speaker if the fight goes on for much longer.
It’s not clear at all if McCarthy and his supporters will be able to get all the votes, and the longer the fight goes on, the less likely it is that he will become speaker. But on Wednesday, there were signs that talks are getting better.
McCarthy’s latest concession would be a big win for hard-line conservatives. The California Republican had already proposed a five-member threshold, which is lower than the current conference rules, which say that half of the GOP must ask for a vote on something like this. But many more moderate members were worried that giving in to the far right on this issue could weaken the speakership and cause chaos in the ranks.
In two more concessions, sources say, he’s agreed to let more Freedom Caucus members serve on the powerful House Rules Committee, which decides whether and how bills get to the floor, and to hold votes on a few bills that are important to the holdouts, such as a plan to limit the number of terms members can serve and a plan to secure the border.
But since the talks are still going on, nothing is set in stone. Republican sources say that McCarthy’s offer won’t get him the 218 votes he needs to be speaker, even if it is accepted. Even though these changes could bring in some new supporters, other opponents have brought up other concerns that haven’t been fully answered yet.
After several failed votes for speaker earlier in the day, the House left for a few hours while Republicans talked. Conservative Texas Rep. Chip Roy, who has voted against McCarthy’s bid for the speakership, told GOP leaders that he thinks he can get 10 holdouts to come along if these ongoing negotiations work out and that other opponent may be willing to vote “present.”
Sources say that the talks between McCarthy supporters and those who didn’t vote for him on Wednesday were the most productive and serious ones to date. And, in a sign of progress, a super PAC with ties to McCarthy agreed not to play in open Republican primaries in safe seats. This was one of the most important things conservatives had asked for, but McCarthy had been against it until now.
Roy said as he left the Capitol on Wednesday night, “We’ve talked more as a group in the last two days than we have in the last four years.” Still, even if these talks go well and 10 lawmakers switch to McCarthy’s side, which isn’t likely, he wouldn’t have the 218 votes he needs to become speaker, so he would still have to do more work.
Tom Emmer, who will be the next House Majority Whip, said Wednesday night that talks about who will be the next speaker have been “very, very constructive.” The Minnesota Republican said, “A lot of members were involved in this discussion, and some of them are now sitting down to talk about it and figure out where they want to take it next.”
Not Sure How To Move Forward
In the new Congress, 222 seats in the House are held by Republicans. For McCarthy to get to 218, he can only lose four GOP votes. His problem is that he has to deal with a small but determined group of hard-line conservatives. So far, they have been able to stop him from getting enough votes to win the gavel.
The group has used the razor-thin Republican majority to get concessions from the government. McCarthy has already given in to some of their demands, like making it easier to get rid of the current speaker, but so far it hasn’t been enough. After three rounds of voting on Tuesday, the House met again on Wednesday to keep voting. McCarthy has failed each time because he hasn’t reached the number of votes needed to become a speaker.
As Tuesday’s votes went on, McCarthy’s situation seemed to get worse as the number of votes against his bid to become speaker grew. On the first vote for speaker, 203 Republicans chose McCarthy, while 19 Republicans chose someone else. On the second ballot, McCarthy got 203 votes, and Ohio Republican Rep.
Jim Jordan got 19. In the third round of voting, McCarthy got 202 votes and Jordan got 20 votes. Rep. Byron Donalds joined the 19 GOP lawmakers who had voted against McCarthy in the first two rounds. It was the first time since 1923 that there were more than two votes for speaker.
“My vote yesterday was basically to break a deadlock because we were deadlocked and going nowhere,” Donalds, a Republican from Florida, said on “CNN This Morning” on Wednesday. “McCarthy doesn’t have a way to get there right now. If that comes up again, I can go, but what’s important right now is that Republicans work together to find a way to choose a speaker.
In the fourth round of voting, 20 Republicans all voted for Donalds. The group had previously supported Jordan, but they switched their support to Donald’s. Rep. Victoria Spartz of Indiana didn’t vote, so McCarthy only needed 217 votes. Spartz told CNN that she did this because she wanted to give the 20 members more time to talk about their concerns at the conference. For the fifth vote, the final tally was once again 201 votes for McCarthy, 20 votes for Donalds, and one vote for “present.”
Trump Is Paying Attention
Trump is paying close attention to how things are going on Capitol Hill, and McCarthy’s main goal has been to get Trump’s public support. Two GOP sources who know about the situation told NBC News on Tuesday that McCarthy’s supporters were panicking after the former president gave NBC News a weak answer when asked about his support for McCarthy. Two sources say the former president also didn’t make a statement Monday reiterating his support for McCarthy, even though McCarthy’s supporters tried to get him to do so behind the scenes.
One of McCarthy’s close allies then started to work behind the scenes to clean up the mess and put pressure on Trump to make a statement clarifying his support. McCarthy and Trump then talked on the phone, and McCarthy said that Trump told him he would still support him.
Trump gave McCarthy a strong endorsement on Truth Social Wednesday morning. He asked Republicans not to “TURN A GREAT TRIUMPH INTO A GIANT AND EMBARASSING DEFEAT” and asked them to vote for McCarthy.
Even though Trump’s statement might not change the minds of McCarthy’s most ardent opponents, one of the sources said that McCarthy’s supporters were worried about making him look “weak” and like he was losing support, so they thought it was important to change the story.
Gaetz, a House Republican who is against McCarthy’s bid to become speaker, said that Trump’s latest attempt to help the California Republican was “sad.” “This doesn’t change how I feel about McCarthy or Trump, or how I’m going to vote,” Gaetz told Fox News Digital on Wednesday, right after Trump defended McCarthy in the Truth Social post.
Gaetz has been a strong supporter of Trump for a long time, but his refusal to give in to Trump’s wish for McCarthy to become speaker raises new questions about the former president’s waning influence over Republicans in the middle of his third run for president. “If Matt Gaetz ignores you, that’s not a good sign,” a supporter of Trump’s 2024 campaign said.
This person said that in the last 24 hours, Trump has been calling on McCarthy’s behalf to try to break the conservative blockade against him. But so far, his efforts haven’t worked. A lawmaker who talked to Trump on Tuesday night said that the former president should run for speaker, according to a person who knew about the conversation. Trump didn’t agree, and he kept pushing this person to vote for McCarthy, saying that he would be a strong supporter of “America First.”
Tell us what you think about this article if you liked it. Also, keep checking back here Journalistpr.com. for updates on the news.