Kevin Mccarthy Makes Concession In Bid For Speaker, But Outcome Still Uncertain!
Kevin Mccarthy: On a conference call on Sunday night, House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy listed some of the compromises he has made in his run for speaker, including making it more straightforward to remove the speaker, according to many GOP sources.
Even after caving into some of the most adamant demands of the right, McCarthy could not predict if he would receive enough votes to become a speaker. Later on Sunday night, House Republicans published their rules proposal for the 118th Congress, formalizing some of McCarthy’s concessions.
McCarthy has not yet secured the speaker position so other sacrifices may be made in the upcoming days. The House only adopts its rules package after making that choice. The California Republican made his case for the speakership in a “Dear Colleague” letter and made other commitments, such as ensuring that the ideological factions are well represented on committees.
Soon after Sunday’s call, a group of nine hardliners who had previously presented McCarthy with their demands released a new letter in which they criticized some of the concessions he had made and made it clear they were still unconvinced of his leadership abilities.
However, they acknowledged that progress was being made. The members stated in the letter obtained by CNN that “thus far, there continues to be lacking precise pledges concerning practically every component of our entreaties, and thus, no methods to measure whether promises are maintained or broken.”
This group continues to advocate for giving one legislator the authority to request a vote to remove the speaker. They also want a guarantee that leadership won’t interfere with elections, among other things. McCarthy still has a lot of work to do before Tuesday since he can only afford to lose four votes on the House floor.
In a call with his constituents on Sunday, the California Republican claimed that after weeks of negotiations, he had agreed to a threshold as low as five people to start a vote to remove the speaker from the speaker’s chair, also known as the “motion to vacate” the speaker’s chair.
He described this as a “compromise.” His support for that level was initially reported by CNN last week. According to insiders, some moderates resisted and vented their fury throughout the call out of fear that the vacation motion would be used as a perpetual club to McCarthy’s head.
Although he said he would accept it if it helped McCarthy win the speakership, South Dakota Rep. Dusty Johnson expressed displeasure with the low bar McCarthy agreed to. Other members made it plain that the rules package under discussion would not be considered if McCarthy’s detractors failed in their attempt to prevent him from becoming a speaker.
"Some @GOP have discussed a long-shot backup if @GOPLeader McCarthy falls short: tapping retiring @RepFredUpton as speaker, which 'wouldn’t violate their pledge not to support another sitting House Republican.'" Well, howzabout @DonaldTrump as #Speaker?!https://t.co/hxio6Gt0ji
— David A. Andelman (@DavidAndelman) December 31, 2022
Florida Representative Mario Diaz-Balart questioned McCarthy about whether or not this renunciation on the motion to vacate will secure him 218 votes. But despite McCarthy having claimed earlier in the conversation that things were “slowly” heading in the right direction, he avoided immediately responding.
However, one of McCarthy’s five “hard no” votes later on in the call, Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, stated that they would not support McCarthy despite all the compromises. Then, Rep. Carlos Gimenez of Florida asked McCarthy to respond to Diaz-question Balart’s once more.
McCarthy’s answer, according to sources, was that the deal must be closed because they only had a few days left. Rep.-elect Mike Lawler of New York asked Gaetz whether he would support McCarthy if he agreed to reduce the number of lawmakers needed to support a motion to vacate to the level it was before Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (a California Democrat) rule change.
McCarthy had rejected that suggestion, but if he were to make that offer now, Gaetz said, he would consider it. McCarthy argued that the remainder of the conference could not support a bar as low as one person and disagreed with Gaetz’s depiction.
The Republican from California remarked, “It’s not about me.” He then questioned if he could say “yes” if McCarthy were reduced to a one-person barrier, but Gaetz remained hesitant and stated that if the offer were genuine, he would consider it.
“@GOPLeader should not be speaker of the House. McCarthy is, in short, a political hack who has put his own ambition for high office above the interests of the House and the country.”
— Lenny Mendonca (@Lenny_Mendonca) December 30, 2022
House Rules Package Released
The package, which was unveiled late on Sunday, also restores the ability to zero out a government official’s salary, gives lawmakers 72 hours to read a bill before it is brought to the floor, and establishes a new select committee to look into the “weaponization” of the Justice Department and the FBI.
The procedure for discharge petitions, which enables legislators to bypass leadership and get a bill to the floor if it has support from 218 lawmakers, is unaffected by the rules package. The rules package also eliminates staffer unionization efforts, forbids remote hearings and markups, and permits the House Ethics Committee to accept ethical complaints from the general public.
A group of nine House conservatives essentially in the tossup column for speaker write of McCarthy’s rules changes:
“Despite some progress achieved, Mr. McCarthy’s statement comes almost impossibly late to address continued deficiencies ahead of the opening of … January 3rd.” pic.twitter.com/WLHapAPVnh
— Andrew Solender (@AndrewSolender) January 2, 2023
The rules package put forth by the House GOP represents, in the words of Rep. Jim McGovern, the current Democratic chairman of the House Rules Committee, “a tremendous step backward for this institution.” The Massachusetts senator claimed in a statement on Sunday that “Republican leaders have once again capitulated to the most virulent members of their caucus.”
Despite the rules package’s claims to represent finality, GOP insiders have advised that nothing is truly final until the Senate has approved it. The rules package, which sets forth how the House conducts itself, is voted on by the legislature once the speaker is chosen and the new members are sworn in.
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