“Kevin McCarthy got a chance to be Speaker of the House. He rejected it,” said Perry, who chairs the conservative House Freedom Caucus.
twice McCarthy A group of conservatives twice worked to block him from the House’s most powerful seat. He dropped out of the race in 2015 amid opposition from the House Freedom Caucus. This time, his allies say he is ready to fight to the bitter end.
“He’s committed. He’s in this until hell freezes over,” the rep said. Don Bacon (R-Neb.), a McCarthy supporter.
It is not yet clear how long this fight will last. McCarthy supporters say they expect him to keep Republicans on the House floor, instead trying to postpone them to strategy sessions between ballots because they hope he can crush his opponents. Although a speakership vote has passed the first ballot only once since the Civil War, Republicans are mentally preparing not just for multiple ballots, but for days of voting.
Asked on Monday if he had the support he needed for the hearing, McCarthy predicted he would have a “good day” but teased he didn’t want to “take away all the excitement”.
It was an inauspicious start not only for McCarthy, but for a convention that had already suffered a disappointing midterm election — only achieving a narrow majority despite optimistic projections. Even if McCarthy manages to lock down the vote, he must make key promises that guarantee his leadership will be severely weakened.
While many House Republicans say McCarthy has a say, the conversation surrounding his fate has shifted dramatically to public posturing, endless speculation, frequent tactics and some subtle shadow-jacking.
McCarthy is working diligently to lock in support, publishing A long list of offers He is open to making changes to the rules, including making it easier to impeach the Speaker. But five conservatives — representatives. Matt Gates Florida, Andy Picks Arizona, Bob Good Virginia, Matt Rosendale Montana and Ralph Norman In South Carolina — still vowing to oppose the Republican president, other members are publicly undecided.
After a meeting with McCarthy on Monday, Gaetz reiterated that he believed there were at least five “no” votes, including his, going into Tuesday. This prompted some claims that McCarthy’s opponents were not negotiating in good faith.
In a significant victory for conservatives, McCarthy set the number of Republican supporters to five to force a vote to impeach the speaker, dismaying some rank-and-file members. A few weeks ago, the convention set the threshold for triggering such a vote, known as a motion to vacate, with a majority of its members. Some conservatives argue that this is not enough – they want a member to be able to force such a movement.
“I still think, at the end of the day, Kevin gets it. And people [stand] Losing hardliners who negotiated in bad faith,” said the representative. Guy Reschenthaler (R-Pa.), current Deputy Chief Whip.
Associates like McCarthy and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) says the release of the latest rules package swayed votes his way. But other members signaled otherwise.
Nine Republicans on the fence released a letter after the rules package was released saying the proposed changes still weren’t enough to win them over. More ominously, they warned, “his recent promises to address persistent deficiencies have been delayed almost impossibly ahead of the opening of the 118th Congress on January 3rd.”
The signatures on the letter include three incoming members who some House Republicans think could vote against McCarthy. One of them is representative-choice Anna Paulina Luna The Florida native told Steve Bannon on his podcast last week that “I’ve had a lot of emails from people” opposing the California Republican and that “I’m listening to my constituents.”
The additional names in the letter are a fresh shot at McCarthy opponents, as speculation has swirled for weeks about who besides the initial five would publicly oppose the GOP leader. While some members were confused about where their support lay in the private freedom meeting, others did not come forward.
Meanwhile, it sparked frustration from McCarthy’s supporters, who questioned what else he had to offer his opponents to win votes.
“We’ve gone really far on so many fronts. … People can’t ask for anything more from him. He’s done everything he can,” Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), co-chairman of the Bipartisan Problem Solving Caucus, said of McCarthy, characterizing him as “not giving up.”
Bacon added that McCarthy had “done enough,” describing the negotiations so far as “one-sided concessions with nothing in return.” While lawmakers expect McCarthy to cut more small deals before the speaker votes, some warn that allowing a member to force a vote to impeach the speaker would be a step too far.
“That would have a lot of pushback,” Rep. Kelly Armstrong (RN.D.) said about the possibility.
However, some Republicans say there are members who have remained silent but will publicly announce their opposition to McCarthy on voting day, limiting their chances of gaining support. Others have questioned whether the anti-McCarthy coalition is arranging for more members to vote against him in a runoff in an effort to weaken California.
Names other than Biggs are expected to challenge McCarthy, with speculation that McCarthy, acting as opposition leader, is not involved in an actual bid.
Good, one of McCarthy’s opponents, quipped during a Fox News interview Monday that “we’ll see that name on the second ballot tomorrow.”
On the other side of the rebellion, McCarthy’s allies have launched a number of efforts to show their unwavering support — appearing on news programs, sending letters to conferences and wearing “OK” pins that say “Only Kevin.” But other members say the move smacks of defensiveness, if not desperation.
Democratic leaders, meanwhile, did not look to ease McCarthy. They told their members not to miss any ballots, which would reduce the number of votes needed for the GOP leader, and to vote for the incoming minority leader, Rep. Hakeem Jeffreys (DNY.)
Some Republicans say McCarthy needs to make a deal to force a dozen Democrats to leave the floor after several ballots. Others, like Bacon, have said that if conservatives block McCarthy, they might work with a group of centrist Democrats to elect a more moderate Republican instead.
But after weeks of behind-the-scenes drama, Republicans say they’re ready to take the fight to the ground.
“We’re in talks with Jell-O,” Armstrong said. “It’s time to start voting and vote.”
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