Republicans scramble to end impasse over McCarthy’s imperiled speakership bid
Kevin McCarthy faces mounting pressure to end the impasse over his endangered speaker bid after two consecutive days of failed votes. But even after offering big concessions to his hard-line opponents late Wednesday, it remains unclear whether the California Republican will be able to muster the support he needs to win the nail-biter, and patience is wearing thin among lawmakers as the fight drags on. .
Still, there are some early indications that negotiations have made some progress as McCarthy and his allies try to fend off opposition from a bloc of conservatives.
In a series of new concessions first reported by CNN on Wednesday night, McCarthy agreed to propose a rule change that would allow only one member to call for a vote to remove an incumbent speaker, according to two sources familiar with this issue. McCarthy had originally proposed a five-member threshold, up from current conference rules that require half the GOP to call for such a vote.
He also agreed to allow more members of the Freedom Caucus to serve on the powerful House Rules Committee, which dictates how and if bills come up for debate, and to vote on a small portion of bills that prioritize waste, including proposing mandate limits for members and a border security plan.
Republican sources say that even if McCarthy’s bid is accepted, it still would not get him the 218 votes he needs to be president. While these releases may attract new support, other opponents have raised various concerns that have yet to be fully addressed.
McCarthy said Wednesday evening that there was no deal yet to end the impasse, but that there had been progress. “I think it’s probably best for people to work even harder,” McCarthy said after the House adjourned.
The chamber is scheduled to convene on Thursday at 12:00 PM ET.
McCarthy has already made a number of concessions to his opponents, although so far his efforts have not been enough.
But sources said Wednesday’s talks between McCarthy’s allies and allies were the most productive and serious yet. And in a sign of a breakthrough, a McCarthy-affiliated super PAC agreed not to play in open Republican primaries in safe seats — one of the big demands that conservatives had been pushing for but that McCarthy had resisted up to this point. .
Texas Rep. Chip Roy, one of the conservatives who voted against McCarthy’s bid for the presidency, told GOP leaders he thinks he can get 10 hurdles to reach if the ongoing negotiations go ahead, according to GOP sources. familiar with internal discussions, and that there are other opponents who may be willing to vote “present”.
Still, even if these negotiations are successful and 10 lawmakers are headed to McCarthy’s column — which is by no means certain — that won’t get McCarthy to the 218 votes needed to win the speakership, so he there would still be more work to do.
McCarthy also met separately Wednesday with newly elected members who voted against him, sources told CNN.
During the meeting, McCarthy reiterated some of the things he has already promised and went into detail about those concessions.
McCathy’s direct contact with newly elected students provides another window into his strategy for winning over candidates.
House Majority Whip Tom Emmer commented that the negotiations have been “very, very constructive”.
“There was a whole group of members that got involved in that, and there are some people now that are sitting down and talking about that discussion to see where they want to go with it next,” the Minnesota Republican said.
The leadership battle, which began Tuesday on the first day of the 118th Congress, has thrown the new House majority into chaos and damaged the party’s agenda.
As the fight has dragged on, the situation has become increasingly dire for McCarthy’s political future, as even some of his Republican allies have begun to fear that the House GOP leader may not be in able to make his play for the boss if the fight drags on much longer. .
McCarthy has so far come up short in six rounds of voting. The final GOP tally for the sixth ballot, which took place Wednesday, was 201 for McCarthy, 20 for Florida Rep. Byron Donalds of Florida and one “present” vote.
The House will remain paralyzed until this situation is resolved. This is the first time a presidential election has gone to multiple ballots since 1923.
To be elected speaker, a candidate must win a majority of members voting for a particular person on the floor of the House. This amounts to 218 votes if no member skips the vote or votes “present”.
House Republicans won 222 seats in the new Congress, so for McCarthy to reach 218, he can only afford to lose four GOP votes.