Republicans Control the House But Can’t Compromise on Someone To Lead It
Happy new year, Roundup readers! I hope your early 2023 is so far going better than for Republican Speaker-elect Kevin McCarthy. Having served as the House Minority Leader since 2019, McCarthy should be a shoo-in for House Speaker in this year’s Republican-controlled House.
But as the new 118th Congress convenes today, a small but strong opposition force could derail McCarthy’s bid to remain Republicans’ top House leader.
McCarthy has been working hard to win them over. In a letter to GOP colleagues, he pledged to “restore the ability for any 5 members of the majority party to initiate a vote to remove the Speaker if so warranted.” Fox News noted that “previous House rules, put in place by former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, required a member of the House leadership from the majority party to initiate a vote to remove the current speaker.”
McCarthy also vowed in the letter to limit proxy voting. “Congress was never intended for Zoom, and no longer will members be able to phone it in while attending lavish international weddings or sailing on their boat. We will meet, gather and debate in person — just as the founders envisioned,” McCarthy wrote.
Additionally, McCarthy said he would give lawmakers 72 hours to read a bill before it is voted upon and create a select committee to investigate the “weaponization” of the Department of Justice.
But nine Republican lawmakers—Reps. Scott Perry (Pa.), Chip Roy (Texas), Dan Bishop (N.C.), Andrew Clyde (Ga.), Paul Gosar (Ariz.), and Andy Harris (Md.); and Reps.-elect Anna Paulina Luna (Fla.), Eli Crane (Ariz.), and Andy Ogles (Tenn.)—said yesterday they’re still not quite on board with McCarthy for Speaker and want to see a “radical departure from the status quo.”
“Thus far, there continue to be missing specific commitments with respect to virtually every component of our entreaties, and thus, no means to measure whether promises are kept or broken,” the nine wrote in a Sunday letter. Among other things, they want a single lawmaker to have to power to call for a vote to remove the Speaker (which was the pre-Pelosi policy).
In addition, it’s a hard no on McCarthy for Republican Reps. Matt Gaetz (Fla.), Andy Biggs (Ariz), and three others.
Republicans have 222 seats in House starting today and McCarthy needs 218 votes to become speaker. So, McCarthy “doesn’t appear to have the votes. At least not yet,” noted Ursula Perano and Sam Brodey at The Daily Beast. “And barring a dramatic resolution in the closing hours, Tuesday’s vote could be the most chaotic in the modern history of the chamber.”
Further complicating matters, “there are dozens of Republicans who’ve declared themselves “Only Kevin,” meaning they will only vote for McCarthy to be speaker—or so they say,” write Perano and Brodey. Of course, “there could be plenty who say they support McCarthy now but would perhaps flip once it becomes clear that McCarthy doesn’t have the votes.”
Despite the opposition, McCarthy “has remained the only broadly supported candidate for the post,” pointed out in The New York Times. But if McCarthy can’t muster enough votes to become the next House Speaker, alternatives will have to emerge:
House precedent requires that lawmakers continue voting on ballot after ballot if no one is able to win the gavel. If Mr. McCarthy is unable to quickly win election, Republicans would be under immense pressure to coalesce around an alternative, ending a potentially chaotic and divisive fight on the floor that could taint the start of their majority in the House.
Biggs has been trying to present himself as that alternative
Article from Reason.com