Rep. Kevin McCarthy does not look to have the required number of votes to win the House speaker’s gavel on the first ballot, as a key bloc of conservative Republicans wanted a “radical change from the existing quo” in chamber leadership.
During a Sunday night conference call with members of the GOP conference, McCarthy (R-Calif.) conceded to a key demand pressed by members of the right-wing Freedom Caucus, who had insisted that the process to remove a speaker — known as a “motion to vacate” — be initiated by only five Republican members, as opposed to a majority.
In 2015, then-Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) filed a “motion to vacate,” which led to the resignation of then-House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).
2019 saw a change in the rule made by Democrats.
Reps. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Chip Roy of Texas, Paul Gosar of Arizona, Dan Bishop of North Carolina, Andy Harris of Maryland, and Andrew Clyde of Georgia, as well as Reps.-elect Andy Ogles of Tennessee, Anna Paulina Luna of Florida, and eli Crane of Arizona, rejected McCarthy’s proposed rule changes as “insufficient.”
Rep. Kevin McCarthy, spotted at the Capitol on December 21, appears to be falling short of the required number of votes to become speaker of the House.
They noted that McCarthy’s “message comes almost impossibly late to address ongoing shortcomings ahead of the incoming Congress.”
“It should not come as a surprise that utterances of hazy expectations in far too many of the still-debated critical areas are insufficient. This is especially true in regards to Mr. McCarthy’s candidacy for speaker, as the circumstances demand for a radical departure from the current quo, not a continuation of previous and ongoing Republican failures, the nine Republicans wrote in response.
They continued, “Mr. McCarthy bears sole responsibility for correcting the dysfunction he now plainly acknowledges during his lengthy tenure.”
The last-minute concession demonstrates how far the California Republican must go to secure the 218 votes necessary for the speakership when the full House votes on Tuesday.
Nine Republicans wrote a letter opposing Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s bid for speaker of the House.
McCarthy can only afford to lose four members, given that 222 Republicans are slated to be sworn in and all Democrats are anticipated to oppose his nomination.
Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona, a member of the five-person “Never Kevin Caucus” that also includes Matt Gaetz of Florida, Bob Good of Virginia, Matt Rosendale of Montana, and Ralph Norman of South Carolina, is also challenging McCarthy for the gavel.
Failure to meet the 218-vote threshold might result in a lengthy vote on the floor.
“Sometimes it’s taken days, sometimes it’s taken hours, sometimes it’s taken weeks. Rep. Greg Steube (R-Fla.), a staunch McCarthy supporter, told Fox News on Monday that he hoped this scenario would not occur.
Good stated during a Monday interview on “Fox & Friends” that McCarthy has done nothing to “earn my vote” and referred to the former House minority leader as “a member of the swamp cartel.”
“There’s nothing about Kevin McCarthy that suggests he’ll bring the necessary change to Washington or to Congress, or that he’ll battle against the Biden-Schumer agenda and represent the interests of the voters who sent us to Washington to deliver real change,” he added.