January 27, 2023

Conservatives threaten to cut crucial McCarthy support hours before Speaker vote

“Why didn’t we get McCarthy’s proposed rules package at least 72 hours earlier?” Rib. Dan Bishop (RN.C.), a member of the Freedom Caucus, tweeted.

The selection of a speaker is usually a symbolic moment, with the vote being decided months in advance. But absent a sudden turnaround among his opponents, McCarthy’s bid for Cavalry could spark a historically rare showdown, signaling he could go beyond a ballot for the second time since the Civil War. In fact, many Republicans are trying to get votes that last several days, as McCarthy’s allies have pledged to vote only for him and five conservatives have pledged to oppose him, leaving no clear alternative candidate.

The conservative Club for Growth on Monday issued a whip notice for the speaker vote, urging them not to vote against McCarthy — without apparently naming him — unless he accepts various provisions by some of his opponents, many of whom are members. of the House Freedom Caucus.

Among the lawmakers’ demands was to allow any member of the House to hold a referendum to impeach the Speaker. Club for Growth echoed those members’ calls to ban congressional funding, a campaign group closely aligned with McCarthy, from “spending money or giving grants to any super PAC … in open Republican primaries or against any Republican office”. The panel also took up the issue of “true conservatives” not being represented in the leadership.

On Monday evening McCarthy convened a strategy session with dozens of his supporters. Representative Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) was characterized as a meeting aimed at helping California Republicans ahead of Tuesday’s vote. One of McCarthy’s most trenchant opponents, Rep. Matt Gates (R-Fla.) was also seen entering McCarthy’s office with Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), chairman of the House Freedom Caucus and Rep. Lauren Bobert (R-Colo.), neither has committed to vote for the Californian speaker.

McCarthy works out of the speaker’s office on Monday, a tradition usually bestowed upon the speaker-elect. If he fails, he will have to leave the prestigious office.

Republicans have had a long day preparing for Tuesday. Representative Kelly Armstrong (RN.D.), McCarthy’s ally, predicted that Republicans would go “however long it takes.” But he said the first vote would provide some early indications of what the day would look like.

“The way the letters work, you know very quickly on the first ballot. And then we figure out how it grinds,” Armstrong said, referring to the alphabetical process of inviting members to vote.

Meanwhile, Rep. Andy Picks (R-Ariz.), McCarthy opponents have been channeling their frustration as a key figure, describing California as “in total bargaining mode,” but saying he doesn’t believe McCarthy will “ever get 218 votes.”

Others made more cryptic comments: “Some people who campaign against the swamp are quick to wither (in varying degrees) the challenges to that swamp…” the representative tweeted. Chip Roy (R-Texas) on Monday.

But as McCarthy’s opponents take a tougher stance, some of his supporters are reviving their own threats.

McCarthy Associate Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) said Monday that his earlier warning — that if conservatives attack McCarthy, moderate Republicans will join forces with Democrats to elect a centrist GOP speaker — remains on the table.

“If we don’t have a few of the 218 members we need to govern, we’ll find other ways to get the 218,” Bacon wrote in an op-ed in the Daily Caller.