On January 3, members of the House of Representatives are set to vote on the next Speaker of the House, which holds a Republican majority after the recent, contentious midterm elections. California's GOP Rep. Kevin McCarthy was the Minority Leader under outgoing Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and won the party’s nomination for Speaker in November. McCarthy took 188 votes over opponent Rep. Andy Biggs, who received just 31.
However, as the race nears, there are concerns that McCarthy might not have the votes within his own party to secure the speakership, which would leave Democrats the power to choose House Speaker despite their minority in that body.
To win the speakership, McCarthy needs to receive 218 votes, meaning that he can only afford to lose just 4 votes from his party, assuming no Democrats vote for him.
During a call on Sunday, McCarthy made a concession to members of his party that would ease the rules on members attempting to depose a sitting speaker.
According to Politico, if adopted, the new rule would allow five House majority members to bring forward a vote of no-confidence in their leader. This is a change from a rule Pelosi put in place that said only those in leadership could bring no-confidence votes.
On Sunday, 10 House Republicans that are currently undecided penned a statement criticizing McCarthy’s Saturday response to their demands delivered last month.
"Mr. McCarthy’s title, 'Restoring the People’s House and Ending Business as Usual,' is a welcome and telling admission of the longstanding and deep dysfunction of the House of Representatives and statement of aspiration to begin to set it right in the 118th Congress," the statement read.
"Regrettably, however, despite some progress achieved, Mr. McCarthy’s statement comes almost impossible late to address continued deficiencies ahead of the opening of the 118th Congress on January 3rd."
Signing onto the statement were Reps. Scott Perry, Paul Gosar, Chip Roy, Dan Bishop, Andy harris, and Andrew Clyde, and Rep-Elects Anna Paulina Luna, Andy Ogles, and Eli Crane.
McCarthy has received support from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, as well as 2024 presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump.
In an interview with Breitbart, Trump gave his endorsement, saying "Look, I think this: Kevin has worked very hard. He is just—it's been exhausting. If you think, he’s been all over. I think he deserves the shot. Hopefully he's going to be very strong and going to be very good and he’s going to do what everybody wants."
Speaking in regards to Rep. Biggs challenge at the time, Greene said on Steve Bannon’s War Room, "I actually think that's a bad strategy when we're looking at having a very razor-thin majority, with potentially 219 [seats], we're talking about one vote."
According to The Hill, Rep. Bob Good said on Monday that he expects "10 to 15" members to vote for Rep Andy Biggs on the first ballot for the speaker vote, and predicted that in follow-up ballots, "I think you’ll see on the second ballot an increasing number of members vote for a true candidate who can represent the conservative center of the conference, can motivate the base."
Among those speaking out against McCarthy is Rep. Matt Gaetz, who in a December 21 column for the Daily Caller wrote, "Every single Republican in Congress knows that Kevin does not actually believe anything. He has no ideology."
"In sports, when the team loses games it is supposed to win, the coach gets fired. In business, when earnings vastly miss projections, the CEO is replaced. In Republican politics, a promotion shouldn’t be failure’s chaser," Gaetz later added, noting the less-than-predicted Republican House majority that emerged after the midterms.
If McCarthy doesn't reach the number of voted necessary to win the speakership, it could open the door to another Congress Democrat nominee winning the role, like newly elected House party leader Hakeem Jeffries.
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