Kevin McCarthy has lost support in his party and as a result he will be unable to become the next speaker of the House. This has been a huge loss to McCarthy, whose far-right party is perceived as not being sufficiently loyal to President Trump. As a result, he plans to fight for his seat as Speaker of the House. He has also stated that he will do everything he can to get back the votes he lost.
McCarthy’s party’s far-right perceived as insufficiently loyal to Trump
As House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is working to lock in a majority for himself, many Republicans are unhappy with his leadership. Many of those who are disgruntled are part of a right-wing faction of the House GOP that is frustrated with McCarthy’s efforts to govern. The group, known as the House Freedom Caucus, wants more power for rank-and-file Republicans and changes to the rules of the House.
The conservative House Freedom Caucus has pushed McCarthy to become speaker, and he has been trying to work out an arrangement with the group. However, there is still much wrangling between the two parties. In an attempt to make a deal, McCarthy offered a few rule changes to address the conservative demands. He also rejected other demands.
One of the key players in the negotiations is House Whip Steve Scalise. Scalise is perceived as lacking loyalty to President Donald Trump. Some members of the House Republican caucus are angry that Scalise is attempting to ingratiate himself with the Never Kevin crowd.
There are other conservative members of the House who aren’t happy with McCarthy’s leadership, including members of the House Freedom Caucus. They are seeking a change to the rules of the House, allowing a member to force a vote on a bill. That would reduce the amount of votes that McCarthy would need to win the majority.
Meanwhile, another candidate for speaker, Rep. Jim Jordan, is a staunch ally of Trump. He received 19 votes in the second round. This is a significant number for Jordan, who has been a supporter of McCarthy in the past.
Despite all this, the group still hasn’t gotten its way. In fact, some Republicans aren’t even voting for McCarthy, and that’s not surprising. Since the majority is so slim, some members are trying to block him. For example, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, Tom Roy, has been outspoken about his discontent. It’s also unclear if McCarthy has the backing of some key Republicans.
Nonetheless, there is a new generation of Republicans that is influenced by Trump. But they don’t think that McCarthy is sufficiently conservative to take on the Democrats.
Another candidate is Andy Biggs, a former Navy officer who’s making a long shot bid to be the next speaker. Though his credentials as a military man are strong, his lack of a strong track record in Congress could make him a difficult contender.
Lastly, there is the Freedom Caucus, a group of Republicans that is aligned with Trump. They want to see more leadership accountability, more power for the rank-and-file, and more control over the agenda.
However, many members of the Freedom Caucus are still adamant in their opposition to McCarthy. They’re urging their fellow Republicans to vote “present” when the House convenes on January 3. Those who do vote present will be reducing the total number of votes that McCarthy needs to win the speakership.
McCarthy’s closing argument enrages critics
Kevin McCarthy, a longtime member of Congress, has been a fixture on Capitol Hill for over a decade. His status as one of the House’s most powerful lawmakers has given him the opportunity to enact sweeping changes to the way the House operates. But his opponents, led by the House Freedom Caucus, have mounted a major campaign to block his speakership. The group has been calling for more power and control over the legislative process, but also for a ban on earmarks.
While McCarthy won his first round of nominations with 203 votes, the majority of Republicans were still split between his bid and the second candidate, Andy Biggs. And a slew of members who were critical of McCarthy in the nomination process have decided not to vote “present” on Jan. 3. That will reduce the total number of votes he needs to win the election.
McCarthy has been wooing the conservative wing of the party, which grew out of the tea party movement that swept the 2010 midterms. Some of the biggest names in the conservative movement have endorsed his bid for speaker. Others, however, have criticized his attempts to win their support.
The right-wing GOP, led by the House Freedom Caucus, has thrown its weight behind a plan to throw off the Republican leadership. It wants to reinstate the single member vote that drove former Speaker John A. Boehner from office. They are also demanding a ban on earmarks, which allow lawmakers to direct federal dollars to local projects.
As the GOP has grown more divided, the holdouts have ramped up their fight against McCarthy. Some have already been kicking members off committees, but the holdouts are hoping to gain more leverage over the leader of the House.
One of the holdouts, Rep. Matt Gaetz, said he will not support McCarthy’s bid to become speaker, and that he is not willing to work with him to get the job done. However, he has been a vocal advocate of McCarthy’s efforts to get the House to reform its rules. He has also supported a measure that would allow for an impeachment investigation of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
While the far-right wing of the party has a chance to influence the outcome of the race, a new generation of Trump-aligned Republicans, which include Rep. Steve Scalise, a conservative, is not convinced that McCarthy is conservative enough to lead the House.
Some conservative outside groups have amplified their criticisms on social media. In an effort to shut down the opposition, a group of splintered Republicans is running a campaign called the “Only Kevin” campaign. Members have been robocalled by constituents, and robocalls have sounded warnings of consequences for not voting for McCarthy.
McCarthy vows to fight for speakership
House Speaker candidate Kevin McCarthy was unable to secure the Speakership on the first ballot Tuesday. The failure of his bid, the first in over 100 years, may prove a major setback for the Republicans’ credibility. But McCarthy has indicated that he plans to battle on to the finish line. He will need to unify the fractured Republican caucus.
While the Republicans are poised to gain a new majority in the House, there is still a faction of hard-line conservatives who want to block McCarthy’s path to the top job. They also want a rules package that would give rank-and-file members more influence.
While McCarthy has been able to get some concessions, he is still facing a group of hard-core conservatives who have no problem using a razor-thin Republican majority to extract their demands. They want a single member to force a vote on whether to replace the speaker. In addition to this, they are looking to change the rules so they can have more influence on the committees that work on issues they care about.
On Friday, McCarthy told his opponents that he has been working on a rules package for two months. He also promised to establish a panel that will investigate alleged corruption within the House. Other members said he was simply trying to protect him from criticism from losing candidates.
In the end, the “Dear Colleague” letter that McCarthy released made a few promises, including that he will rule the House as a true blue conservative and will not take up any bills that came from GOP senators who backed a massive year-end spending package. However, he also made it clear that he is willing to make sacrifices to obtain the Speakership.
McCarthy also promised to support a threshold as low as five Republicans who are willing to vote for his nomination for speaker, and he is willing to hold multiple ballots if needed. It is no secret that McCarthy is desperate to win, and he has already been able to secure some holdouts. But he cannot afford to lose four votes on the House floor. If he is not able to secure the Speakership, he will be in for a long and difficult night.
In the meantime, the House will begin taking up a slate of new members. There are nine conservatives who have publicly stated that they do not believe McCarthy deserves the Speakership. Some have suggested that he is no longer a credible challenger to Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Others have been convinced that he will not be able to do anything to stop the growth of the Democratic Party.
One group, the House Freedom Caucus, wants the rules to be changed so they can gain more power. Another, the Problem Solvers Caucus, is interested in how to improve the process for committees.
On Tuesday evening, the House adjourned without electing a speaker, the first time this had happened since the first round of elections in 1923.
The beginning of a new Congress was meant to be the Republican Party’s victory lap after winning control of the lower chamber in the elections held in November. Instead, Mr. McCarthy encountered an internal uprising and made history for all the wrong reasons.
The California congressman has so far lost three consecutive votes for speaker, and it’s uncertain how he might succeed when the House reconvenes on Wednesday. They will keep voting until a majority is reached.
Analysts caution that even if Mr. McCarthy finds a way, the unrest on the House floor portends a turbulent two years of conflict between moderate and right-wing Republicans.
The ability of the House to carry out some of its key duties, such as enacting spending bills or raising the debt ceiling, may be hampered if the Republican party is unable to effectively control the lower body of Congress.
Negotiations gave him a weak appearance.
Republicans narrowly took control of the House in November, therefore Mr. McCarthy’s campaign to become Speaker was successful with a small margin of victory. That made it possible for a group of staunch conservatives to unite and reject his nomination.
Republicans who follow politics claim that the gap has been building for a while.
One Republican lobbyist who wanted to talk openly about Tuesday’s vote sought anonymity. “Kevin McCarthy has not made friends with some sectors of the caucus for a while, he’s made a lot of enemies,” the lobbyist said. There are others who dislike him for both personal and political grounds.
What choices does McCarthy currently have?
Theoretical speculation about how this could all turn out has started among political analysts in Washington. Their forecasts to the BBC ranged from the realistic (Mr. McCarthy fights through and prevails, but leaves the contest very depleted) to the completely improbable (he bows out and backs his second in command, Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana). One suggestion was almost fantastical (five Republicans decide to vote for Mr Jeffries, a Democrat, and deliver him control of the House).
Right now, according to Ruth Bloch Rubin, a political scientist at the University of Chicago who specializes in polarization, Mr. McCarthy is “basically prisoner to one wing of his party.”
Although Mr. McCarthy has vowed to stop making concessions, he might not have a choice. He might offer lucrative committee assignments or new leadership positions in an effort to sway recalcitrant lawmakers.
Aaron Cutler, a lobbyist who had worked for former congressman Eric Cantor, another politician who was overthrown by conservative opposition, said, “He’s got to give the people who are against him something to hang their hat on.” However, the second Republican lobbyist was of the opinion that there was “absolutely no path to victory, period.”
On Wednesday, members will meet once more, although it’s uncertain whether the impasse will end.
Representative Lauren Boebert of Colorado, one of the conservative holdouts, told reporters, “We haven’t heard anything fresh from McCarthy.” So I suppose we’ll just carry on as before.