Kevin McCarthy has only 24 hours to convince more than a dozen members of his own party to vote for him for Speaker – as one dissenter cemented his opposition by calling the GOP Leader a member of the ‘swamp cartel.’
Representative Bob Good said he expects up to 15 Republican lawmakers to vote against McCarthy and told Fox & Friends Monday morning that he is ‘part of the problem, not the solution.’
A group of five GOP lawmakers voiced their opposition to McCarthy’s bid for Speaker last month, vowing not to give into concessions unless they all discussed it first. A New Year’s Day letter added nine more Republicans to the list of those who say they won’t vote for McCarthy.
McCarthy needs 218 votes to win Speaker, meaning he can only afford to lose the support of four Republicans.
House Freedom Caucus Chairman Scott Perry demanded that McCarthy ‘get out of the way.’
McCarthy appeared to be claiming a hasty victory on Monday as he was seen entering the House Speaker suite on the second floor of the Capitol.
He told Punchbowl News, surprisingly, that he is feeling ‘actually really good’ about his chances of winning.
Virginia Rep. Bob Good told Fox & Friends that he expects up to 15 Republicans to vote against Kevin McCarthy’s bid for House Speaker on Tuesday, claiming the current GOP Leader is a part of the ‘swamp cartel’
Good said his constituents in Virginia’s 5th congressional district ‘told me not to support Kevin McCarthy’ for Speaker.
He also claimed that while the group of 14 lawmakers who have already publicly said they won’t back McCarthy don’t necessarily have an alternative in mind – they just want to block his accent to take the gavel from outgoing Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The Virginia Republican said they will likely all write-in the ballot for Representative Andy Biggs, another anti-McCarthy Republican and influential member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus.
Biggs lost his bid to be the Republican nominee against McCarthy in a 188–31 secret ballot vote. Five other Republicans wrote in names other than McCarthy or Biggs.
‘If it’s not Kevin, who would you vote for?’ Good was asked on Monday.
‘What we will do is block Kevin,’ he replied. ‘I suspect there will be 10 to 15 members who will vote against him on the first ballot tomorrow – that will vote for Andy Biggs.’
‘But then I think you will see on the second ballot an increasing number of members vote for a true candidate who can represent the conservative conference. Motivate the base,’ Good said.
The House majority has only failed to elect a speaker on the first ballot once since the Civil War – and the last time it happened was exactly 100 years ago in 1923.
Support for McCarthy’s bid appears to be weakening in the GOP as 14 lawmakers have publicly said they oppose his run
Nine current and incoming Republicans warned in a New Year’s Day letter how electing McCarthy would be a ‘continuation of Republican failures’
McCarthy has tried to garner some favor with those in the Party against his continued leadership by conceding to a demand that he lower the threshold needed to remove a Speaker from their post.
A motion to vacate the Speaker chair has only ever been used twice in U.S. history. The first time was in 1910 against Republican Speaker Joseph Cannon and the second time was more than 100 years later in 2015 against Republican Speaker Mark Meadows – who later served as former President Donald Trump’s chief of staff.
The five original ‘Never Kevin’ lawmakers who rallied against McCarthy are Representatives Good, Biggs of Arizona, Matt Gaetz of Florida, Ralph Norman of South Carolina and Matt Rosendale of Montana.
The nine additional Republicans who pledged to vote against McCarthy in the Sunday letter are Representatives Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Paul Gosar of Arizona, Chip Roy of Texas, Dan Bishop of North Carolina, Andy Harris of Maryland and Andrew Clyde of Georgia; along with Representative-elects Andy Ogales of Tennessee, Anna Paulina Luna of Florida and Eli Crane of Arizona.
Perry, who is Chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, posted the letter to his Twitter calling for change and a shake-up in leadership.
‘Nothing changes when nothing changes, and that must start from the top,’ Perry wrote. ‘Time to make the change or get out of the way.’
Good slammed McCarthy for allowing massive omnibus spending bills to pass the House before breaking for the holidays.
‘There is nothing that indicates to me that he is going to change his pattern since he has been in leadership where he is part of the swamp cartel,’ the Virginia Republican said. ‘He is the reason on the Republican side why we pass massive omnibus spending bills that just got rammed down our throats by Republicans in the Senate. He was part of that in leadership.’
The ‘swamp cartel’ reference stems from Trump, who dubbed Washington, D.C. a ‘swamp’ in his 2016 presidential campaign and said he was going to go to the nation’s capital to ‘drain the swamp’.
‘There is nothing about Kevin McCarthy that indicates he will bring the change that’s needed to Washington or that’s needed in the Congress or he will bring the fight against Biden-Schumer agenda and represent the interest of the voters who sent us to Washington to bring us real change.’
Opposition to McCarthy’s bid for House Speaker appears to only be growing after the nine Republican members who wrote the stinging letter on Sunday warned how electing him would continue the status quo ‘dysfunction’ in the lower chamber.
The group said that McCarthy had 14 years in House GOP leadership, and lamented that his election could mean a ‘continuation of past, and ongoing, Republican failures.’
On Sunday, McCarthy held a private conference call with Republicans in an attempt to garner support for his speakership vote on Tuesday, January 3, which is when the new Congress takes office.
While McCarthy can only afford to lose four votes if he wants to clinch the Speakership, the call appeared to worsen his outlook from five dissenters last week to 14 total just 24 hours before the vote.
McCarthy released a New Years Eve letter entitled ‘Restoring the People’s House and Ending Business as Usual,’ where he admitted the dysfunction of the House and pledged to make it right
On New Years Eve McCarthy wrote a letter entitled ‘Restoring the People’s House and Ending Business as Usual,’ where he admitted to dysfunction in the House of Representatives and pledged to make it right.
‘For someone with a 14-year presence in senior House Republican leadership, Mr. McCarthy bears squarely the burden to correct the dysfunction he now explicitly admits across that long tenure,’ the nine GOP members wrote in their letter.
They added that his ‘statement comes almost impossibly late to address continued deficiencies ahead of the opening of the 118th Congress on January 3rd.’
‘At this state, it cannot be a surprise that expressions of vague hopes reflected in far too many of the crucial points still under debate are insufficient. This is especially true with respect to Mr. McCarthy’s candidacy for speaker because the times call for radical departure from the status quo – not a continuation of past and ongoing, Republican failures,’ the letter stated.
‘McCarthy’s statement also continues to propose to restrict the availability of the traditional motion to vacate the chair as a means of holding leadership accountable to its promises; we have from the beginning made clear that we will not accept following Nancy Pelosi’s example by insulating leadership in this way,’ the nine House GOP members said in their letter on Sunday.
‘We also note that the statement fails completely to address the issue of leadership working to defeat conservatives in open primaries. The progress made thus far has been helpful and should guide our thinking going forward.’
Members of the House Freedom Caucus, the most conservative caucus in the House, led the calls for a shake-up in leadership. Biggs, a former chairman of the caucus, had launched a bid against McCarthy within the Party to be the nominee for Speakership, but was defeated in a secret ballot.
Biggs, along with Representatives Matt Gaetz of Florida, Ralph Norman of South Carolina, Bob Good of Virginia and Matt Rosendale of Montana were all part of the initial ‘Never Kevin’ lawmakers publicly expressing their plans to vote against McCarthy in the January 3 elections.
While Perry is vice chair of the Freedom Caucus, the current chairman and co-founder of the caucus, Representative Jim Jordan, is an ally of McCarthy.
Arizona GOP Rep. Andy Biggs launched an unsuccessful bid against McCarthy to get the GOP nomination for Speaker
He could be the only person who can get through to the detractors.
In recent weeks, Jordan has gone to bat for McCarthy by arguing on several right-leaning media outlet interviews that the current GOP Leader deserves the gavel.
The five original ‘Never Kevin’ lawmakers have organized to prevent McCarthy from garnering the 218 votes needed to take the gavel from outgoing Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
They have also vowed not to be picked off individually by McCarthy and said they would discuss any concessions he offers.
McCarthy announced on the private call Sunday evening that he would give into one of the top demands from detractors, which is shrinking the threshold needed to vote out the Speaker in exchange for his ascent to the position.
Under the current rules, only a member of the House leadership can initiate a motion to remove the Speaker, but McCarthy’s proposal would allow any House member to force a vote to remove the Speaker at any time.
Currently, only members of House leadership are able to do so, under rules implemented by Pelosi.
The letter is proof that those who oppose his speakership don’t think this concession from McCarthy is enough.
House Democratic Leader Steny Hoyer said Sunday that he would be ‘surprised’ if Kevin McCarthy weren’t elected by his Party to become next Speaker of the House
When asked if McCarthy has what it takes to be Speaker, Democratic House Leader Steny Hoyer said on Sunday: ‘We’ll see.’
He added that if McCarthy wins the election, it’s proof that he’s able to at least put in the work against adversity.
‘He obviously – if he gets 218 votes – has the ability to put together the votes to be the leader of the Party,’ Hoyer told CNN. ‘And he will then be tested as to whether or not he can lead.’
‘But, you know, he’s worked pretty hard at it. He got close to the Holy Grail, and he had to step back. He didn’t give up, he kept going. And it appears to me that he will be the Speaker.’
McCarthy’s efforts to nab the gavel at the start of the new Congress comes seven years after his last failed bid to become Speaker.
To secure the speakership, McCarthy needs at least 218 votes, but with the Republican Party’s slim majority in the House with 222 seats, any additional defections could jeopardize his chances.
During his meeting with fellow GOP members he acknowledged how rank-and-file members would be able to call for the speaker’s removal, although it is unclear how many members would need to sign on to the motion.
Earlier on Sunday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said he would be surprised if Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy weren’t elected by his party to become the next Speaker – but stopped short of saying whether he’s up to the task.
‘I would be surprised if he doesn’t [win],’ Representative Hoyer insisted to CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday morning. ‘My expectation – he’ll be Speaker.’
The new Congress will convene on Tuesday, January 3 and will see Republicans take back a majority in the lower chamber – but not in the Senate.