House Republicans will hold a closed-door conference Tuesday morning, where embattled leader Kevin McCarthy is expected to make his final appeal for the Speaker’s gavel.
The 118th Congress is scheduled to begin at noon on Tuesday, but as of this morning, the majority party in the House of Representatives is still split over who will preside over the house for the next two years.
Public bickering by House Republicans over McCarthy’s current bid for House speaker has already gotten his newfound power off to a rocky start.
Rep. Scott Perry, chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, issued a scathing statement just hours before McCarthy’s morning meeting that accused the California Republican of making empty promises “at the last minute.”
“We have worked in good faith for months to change the status quo. At almost every turn, McCarthy has sidelined or resisted us, and any perceived progress has often been vague or contained gaps that further amplified concerns as to the sincerity of promises made,” Perry wrote.
‘Kevin McCarthy had the opportunity to be Speaker of the House. He rejected it.
Republican Rep. Dan Crenshaw called the opposition to McCarthy “incredibly petty” during an appearance on Fox & Friends Tuesday morning.
‘It’s about showmanship, it’s about notoriety. It has nothing to do with the conservative agenda,” Crenshaw said.
The Republican Party has 222 seats in the new Congress and McCarthy is expected to need 218 votes to win They only have the luxury of losing four members to win the deck.
Voting is done in rounds until a majority consensus is reached. Conservatives are expected to derail McCarthy in the first round by fielding Republican Rep. Andy Biggs, who is unlikely to win a majority of the vote but would take enough away from McCarthy to sabotage him.
His critics have yet to say who they intend to nominate in his place, but several reports have suggested they are eyeing McCarthy’s No. 2, newly appointed House Majority Leader Steve Scalise.
So far there is a total of 14 members of his caucus who have at least strongly suggested that they are voting against him.
The mess culminated in a meeting Monday night between McCarthy, his allies and some of his critics, including Reps. Matt Gaetz and Perry.
House Republicans Matt Gaetz, Lauren Boebert and Scott Perry were seen walking in and out of the Speaker’s Chamber, where current House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy was seen entering before winning the gavel on Tuesday.
Reps. Lauren Boebert and Matt Gaetz could present McCarthy with trouble on Tuesday, and Gaetz is among the Republican leader’s most vocal critics.
Representatives Paul Gosar and Scott Perry signed a letter Sunday suggesting McCarthy’s proposed compromises to conservatives came too late.
At around 5 p.m. ET, Republican lawmakers were seen entering the Speaker’s chamber. McCarthy staff moved the furniture into that office earlier in the day in an apparent show of confidence, although it is reportedly standard protocol to move so early.
Gaetz told reporters the meeting was “brief and productive” but insisted he was still opposed to McCarthy, according to video taken by NBC News’ Haley Talbot.
He is one of five House Republicans who have vowed to vote against the Republican leader under any circumstances.
However, McCarthy allies such as House Majority Leader Tom Emmer expressed confidence after leaving the meeting.
“He’ll be the speaker,” Emmer told reporters, according to CBS News.
McCarthy and his supporters have spent weeks trying to convince his critics, mostly conservatives on his right, to side with the California Republican. But they want concessions that the party’s moderates – and, until recently, McCarthy himself – have been unwilling to make.
In a Sunday letter to his colleagues, McCarthy announced several key concessions, including a motion to vacate the presidency with a five-vote threshold in exchange for support from the entire conference.
Under the currently proposed rules, it would allow five House Republicans to call to vote for a new president. Moderates argued that it would fuel instability within the conference, comparing it to hanging a sword of Damocles over the head of the party leader.
But later that night, a group of nine other current and incoming House Republicans signed a letter calling McCarthy’s concessions announcement “almost impossibly late.”
With only 222 Republicans in the new Congress, McCarthy can afford to lose just four votes to remain elected president.
It has been reported that McCarthy’s current No. 2 (right), incoming House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (left), could be the Conservatives’ pick as an alternative to McCarthy for the office of speaker.
However, vowing to further fuel the chaos, moderate Republican Rep. Don Bacon suggested Monday night that such a riot would not be easy.
According to CBS, Bacon told reporters he is considering nominating an outgoing current member of Congress for president if the “Never Kevin” five Republicans introduce Scalise to McCarthy.
Bacon wrote an opinion piece in the Daily Caller on Monday calling McCarthy’s leadership “excellent” but reaffirmed that he was willing to work with Democrats for an alternative should the rebellion against McCarthy succeed.
“Much has been made of me saying that I would work with moderate Democrats to elect a more moderate speaker,” Bacon wrote.
“But my actual words were that if the five refuse to unite around what the vast majority of the conference wants, I’m willing to work across the aisle to find a likable Republican.”
While conservatives oppose him, McCarthy supporters appear to be looking for a plan B: Moderate Republican Rep. Don Bacon (pictured in 2021) has indicated multiple times that he would be open to negotiating with Democrats on a nominee for moderate Republican president if the California Republican’s candidacy went off the rails
McCarthy has had a wide spectrum of surrogates trying to win over holdouts in recent weeks, from traditional conservatives like Gingrich to Donald Trump and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, allies of many of McCarthy’s biggest detractors.
But his strategy of pressuring detractors to conform and warning that a worse alternative was on the horizon seemed to do little to move the needle.
Greene wrote on Twitter after he also reportedly met with McCarthy on Monday night: “It’s unrealistic that people who claim to be America First are negotiating ‘Me First’ positions when it comes to the President’s Gavel.”
‘The base deserves the truth. They would be just as sick as me,” said the far-right lawmaker from Georgia.
But Rep. Andy Biggs, one of the five original ‘Never Kevin’ Republicans, tweeted after 8 p.m. limit.
“Our party still requires new leadership and I will continue to oppose McCarthy for Speaker of the House,” Biggs said.