Kevin McCarthy Caves On Demand Of Right-Wing Congressmen In Last Ditch Bid For Speakership
Republican House leader Kevin McCarthy (R–California) caved to right-wing members’ demands for a lower the threshold for a “no confidence vote” in his leadership. The compromise was made in a Sunday evening conference call between Republican representatives.
McCarthy has been haggling with House Republicans since the mid-term elections. Republicans won a smaller majority than expected in the House, forcing McCarthy to capture nearly all Republican members to win the speakership. McCarthy made the move to allay right-wing fears that he would not be a good fit as the speaker – but it is not clear that Republicans have been swayed by his compromise.
The settlement was made public when House Republicans unveiled a 55-page rules package for the 118th Congress. The rules constitute that a “no confidence vote” can be called to the floor if five Republican Representatives unite in opposition to the speaker.
“The simple fact is that Congress is broken and needs to change,” McCarthy wrote in a letter pleading for support. He said he agreed to the change because higher thresholds “relegated members of both parties to the sidelines, with mammoth bills being drafted behind closed doors and rushed to the floor at the last minute for an up-or-down, take-it-or-leave-it vote.”
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“Just as the Speaker is elected by the whole body, we will restore the ability for any 5 members of the majority party to initiate a vote to remove the Speaker if so warranted.”
Still, it is unclear if he has garnered support from the most critical parts of his party.
McCarthy has faced vocal opposition from Reps Matt Gaetz (R–Florida), and Andy Biggs (R–Arizona) since McCarthy’s speakership bid was announced. The rules change didn’t seem to change either Reps stance against the California Republican.
“I don’t see any scenario where I’d support Kevin McCarthy as House Speaker,” Biggs tweeted on Saturday. Gaetz retweeted the post.
I don’t see any scenario where I’d support Kevin McCarthy as House Speaker.
McCarthy has a track record of cutting backdoor deals with Democrats. pic.twitter.com/UzUz67yd7K
— Rep Andy Biggs (@RepAndyBiggsAZ) December 29, 2022
Gaetz repeated his opposition to a McCarthy speakership in a conference call.
Other changes in the 55-page rules created a committee to investigate the FBI and Department of Justice, ended the use of Zoom conference calls in the hall and blocked unionizing efforts by staff members. The rules are officially put into place after the speakership has been voted on – adaptations to these rules could be coming in the upcoming weeks as McCarthy continues to try and attract votes.
Rep. Jim McGovern (D–Massachusetts) called the new rules a “major step backward for this institution,” in a statement.
“Republican leaders have once again caved to the most extreme members of their own caucus,” he said.
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