Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Kevin McCarthy faces open GOP revolt as House fails to elect speaker

Republican leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) faced open revolt in the House chamber Tuesday, failing in three rounds of balloting to earn enough votes to capture the speakership in a once-in-a-century showdown that will now spill into a second day.

The stunning failure of the House to elect a speaker on its first round of voting came after McCarthy and his allies spent weeks working to secure the 218 votes needed for him to take the gavel. Republicans won back the House in November’s midterms, but with a slim, four-vote majority, requiring near-consensus among the conference to move votes forward.

By early Tuesday, it became clear that hard-right GOP holdouts had not been swayed. The failure was the culmination of an internal divide that had in the past helped bring down the speakerships of Republicans John A. Boehner (Ohio) and Paul D. Ryan (Wis.), with members of the staunchly conservative House Freedom Caucus asking for a range of demands in exchange for their votes.

Nineteen Republicans remained dug in against McCarthy, voting for four other Republicans on the first ballot before switching their support to Rep. Jim Jordan (Ohio) during the second and third ballots. Rep. Byron Donalds (Fla.) joined the group on the third and final round of voting, bringing McCarthy’s opposition to 20. The reasons for their opposition are varied, from claiming that the rules package McCarthy proposed does not go far enough in giving members leverage to simply wishing McCarthy was someone else.

Unable to break the stalemate, the House adjourned without a speaker on Republicans’ first day back in the majority. McCarthy spent Tuesday evening huddling with allies to devise a plan that could break the opposition and help him be elected as speaker when the House convenes again Wednesday afternoon.

Rep. Michael McCaul (Tex.) said the adjournment was like “calling a time out” so that the caucus can have “a family meeting.” He said the he message will be, “Hey, kids, let’s all get together on this and let’s stop fighting each other.’

McCarthy’s inability to clinch the necessary 218 votes to become speaker in one day — something that hasn’t happened since 1923 — has led members into uncertain territory and undermined Republicans’ goal to govern now that they have the majority. As a result, the GOP’s intraparty fighting only grew more fervent and transparent as the day went on, with many no longer holding back insults toward the detractors.

“I think that we have to make a choice today: Are we going to be the party of the radical 2 percent? said Rep. Kat Cammack (Fla.), visibly frustrated after a morning conference meeting in which McCarthy made his case once more to his colleagues. “Because that’s what it comes down to, the 2 percent that are being the most vocal.”

It is unclear what McCarthy will do now to win over the 20 who voted against him.

Immediately after the House adjourned, McCarthy met with multiple allies but not with any lawmakers currently opposing him. Several McCarthy allies have for months acted as liaisons with members of the House Freedom Caucus and were expected to continue meeting with them through Tuesday evening.

McCarthy still has several maneuvers to make to win over holdouts, including withholding committee assignments and possibly further diminishing the power of the speakership. He has already put into the House rules that five lawmakers can recall the speaker at any time, after pledging that he would not accept changes to the current motion to vacate rule that allows a member of leadership to oust the speaker. But it was unclear if his opponents would accept any more concessions.

“I’m not going to talk about where we go on candidates, because that’s premature,” said Rep. Chip Roy (Tex.), who nominated Jordan on the House floor after voting for Donalds on the first ballot.

The unfolding drama is due to the dismal election results for House Republicans, who had expected to win scores of seats in the midterms. Voters instead handed them a four-vote majority, jeopardizing key decisions since any small group of Republicans could derail any negotiation.

After months of talks with members who made their opposition known after House Republicans’ disappointing midterms performance, McCarthy has made numerous concessions in an effort to win his detractors over. But the discord only grew over the holiday weekend, with some members who had been leaning against McCarthy now coming out as firm opponents.

Those who have remained opposed to McCarthy said early Tuesday they were against him becoming speaker for myriad reasons, primarily that they consider McCarthy an “establishment” figure who has contributed to the problems that have long plagued GOP leadership. McCarthy has been in House Republican leadership for a majority of his Congressional career, 14 out of 16 years.

Rep. Scott Perry (Pa.), chairman of the Freedom Caucus, said he entered negotiations with McCarthy and other Republicans early on in an effort to influence House rules that dictate how the chamber functions over the next two years. The group’s influence only grew after the midterms, given the razor-thin margin McCarthy has to work with.

“Under pressure from members who said we won’t accept the status quo, we have been able to force rule changes to make things better,” Perry said.

Over the weekend, McCarthy unveiled a final rules package before holding another conference call with members to discuss it. Shortly thereafter, Perry and Roy led seven other Republicans in opposition, saying that it did not go far enough in restoring power taken by leaders over time from members.

In a last minute meeting Monday evening, Perry said objectors had provided McCarthy a list of final demands that included desired committee assignments, subcommittee chairmanships, and immediate votes on border security legislation, as well as a bill that would institute term limits on members.

McCarthy began and ended the day defiant, telling the Republican conference in meeting Tuesday morning that he was done negotiating and had “earned” the speaker’s gavel, according to multiple people in the room.

McCarthy was so enthused, he finished his brief remarks with “god d—-t” before literally dropping the microphone. It prompted the overwhelming majority of his colleagues to give him a standing ovation in agreement, while Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) yelled “this is bulls—t!”

“Now here we are being sworn at instead of being sworn in,” Rep. Lauren Boebert (Colo.) said at a news conference, after noting that McCarthy told the conference Tuesday morning that he would not entertain detractors’ “personal wish list” any longer.

McCarthy finds himself stuck in the middle of the first decision Republicans must make to officially convene the 118th Congress. Without a speaker elected, the House cannot swear in all members to vote for a rules package that will dictate how the House governs over the next two years. Any further delay will also affect committee work, hampering Republicans’ desire to jump-start investigations into the Biden administration and create a new select committee that would look into the “weaponization of government,” as McCarthy promised Sunday.

New members are facing the brunt of the delays since they cannot access basic office functions like email until they are elected.

The irritation among Republicans grew more visible as the day went on. During the second ballot, four lawmakers from Texas convened off the floor to discuss the stalemate. Rep.-elect Wesley Hunt, Reps. Dan Crenshaw and McCaul confronted Rep. Michael Cloud about why he continued to defect and support Jordan, who himself had repeatedly endorsed McCarthy.

Crenshaw asked Cloud what other concessions McCarthy could make to win over his opponents — and then demanded to know why Freedom Caucus members are considered more conservative than him.

“What about them is more conservative?” a frustrated Crenshaw asked Cloud. “I’m not f—ing joking!”

As each vote dragged a full hour and the detractors refused to budge, members began to grow exasperated in public view as well.

“Because I’m interested in governing: McCarthy,” Rep. Bill Huizenga (Mich.) said as he cast his vote on the third ballot.

McCarthy’s allies were hoping not to adjourn Tuesday, in hopes that continually voting would pressure the holdouts to cave or tire out Democrats from returning to the floor, according to multiple people familiar with last-minute negotiations. Abstentions can benefit McCarthy since they help lower the 218 majority vote threshold.

After leaving the floor for the evening, the “Only Kevin” crowd refused to entertain the idea that the detractors’ pick, Jordan, would actually become speaker. Rep. Don Bacon (Neb.) said that while Jordan is a “nice man” and “made a good team with Kevin McCarthy,” it’s not worth accommodating “a small group that essentially have you hostage, and that’s what’s going on here.”

At the beginning of the day, Rep. Steve Womack (Ark.) reflected on the tensions that have flared dramatically, and publicly, within the Republican conference. Asked how a staunch conservative and institutionalist like him felt, he became visibly emotional.

“I don’t know how to answer the question. Really. I just hurt for the institution. It’s painful,” he said.

Liz Goodwin, Leigh Ann Caldwell, and Dylan Wells contributed to this report.

This post appeared first on The Washington Post

    You May Also Like


    The 2023 NTT IndyCar season kicks off this weekend in Florida following an offseason of change in the paddock. Eight full-time IndyCar drivers —...


    Four division titles — AFC East, NFC East, AFC South and NFC South — will be decided in NFL Week 18. In all, 11...


    Kalen DeBoer says Nick Saban will retain ‘100% access’ to Alabama football program, with DeBoer’s blessingNick Saban wasn’t over Kalen DeBoer’s shoulder at introductory...


    The Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins have weathered various storms throughout the regular season, from injuries to inconsistent play, but on Saturday, both...

    Disclaimer:, its managers, its employees, and assigns (collectively “The Company”) do not make any guarantee or warranty about what is advertised above. Information provided by this website is for research purposes only and should not be considered as personalized financial advice. The Company is not affiliated with, nor does it receive compensation from, any specific security. The Company is not registered or licensed by any governing body in any jurisdiction to give investing advice or provide investment recommendation. Any investments recommended here should be taken into consideration only after consulting with your investment advisor and after reviewing the prospectus or financial statements of the company.

    Copyright © 2023 | All Rights Reserved