Republican Congressman and current House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California is maneuvering to become the next Speaker of the House as Republicans retake the majority in January. According to reports from analysts, the presumptive Speaker has little, if any margin for error to gain support from the 218 Congress members he’ll need.
That means that as a Congressional leader, he’s going to have to be accountable.
“We’ll get there,” McCarthy said when he accepted the GOP nomination for speaker according to The Independent. Lisa Mascaro, writing for the outlet noted that McCarthy is making overtures toward the Republican party’s more conservative right-flank. She observed that McCarthy promised to restore the stripped committee assignments of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who was targeted by Democrats under Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
He further promised to oust Democrat Congressman Adam Schiff of California among other Democrat leaders for misconduct, and recently confirmed the House under the GOP would seek the impeachment of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas for giving false testimony before Congress.
On CNN’s “State of the Union,” Schiff opined “McCarthy’s problem is, he can’t get to 218 without Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar and Matt Gaetz and so he will do whatever they ask.”
McCarthy won a closed-door election for the nomination in a vote of 188-31 which revealed a serious gap that he’ll have to close to gain the full support of his party.
“They know they’ve got a problem,” Rep. Ralph Norman of South Carolina, a Freedom Caucus member said according to Indy. “In other words, 36 no votes is a problem.”
“I’m of the opinion that on January 3rd we’ll come together as a conference and elect Kevin McCarthy to be Speaker of the House. I think this is something that is ongoing. There are certainly five to eight members that have said they’re leaning towards voting no against Kevin McCarthy.”
Even five to eight members would be sufficient to hold up the selection of a new Speaker.
“They’re, you know, they have a right to support whoever they want. They have their opinions, they have their goals in the conference. Many of them are on my committee, I’m friends with them. But I’m hopeful at the end of the day that we will come together as a conference and elect Kevin,” he added.
According to The Independent, McCarthy has been meeting with skeptics in the party to hammer out the internal rules that the House will operate under.
While this is usually inside baseball that doesn’t make news reports, some members are reportedly calling for an end to earmark spending which would be a massive, broad-ranging reform, others want a balanced budget commitment enforced. Still, some others are seeking to bring back a rule that allows any Congress member to present a motion to remove the Speaker, a failsafe that Rep. Mark Meadows employed during Speaker John Boehner’s term.
“I don’t know if this is winning them over,” McCarthy said according to The Independent. “I think it’s discussing and listening to them.”