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Tipsheet

GOP Letter Raises Additional Concerns for McCarthy in Bid for House Speakership

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

The number of Republicans opposing Rep. Kevin McCarthy for House Speaker appears to have grown despite the California lawmaker making some major concessions.

"Just as the Speaker is elected by the whole body, we will restore the ability for any 5 members of the majority party to initiate a vote to remove the Speaker if so warranted," McCarthy reportedly told his GOP colleagues on Sunday. 

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He also said proxy voting would end. 

"Congress was never intended for Zoom, and no longer will members be able to phone it in while attending lavish international weddings or sailing on their boat. We will meet, gather and debate in person—just as the founders envisioned," McCarthy continued.

But in addition to the original group of five Republican objectors—Reps. Matt Gaetz, Andy Biggs, Bob Good, Ralph Norman, and Matt Rosendale—there are now more, Politico Playbook reports. 

On Sunday evening, McCarthy announced on a private conference call that he would give his antagonists one of their top demands: The threshold to trigger a vote ousting a speaker would shrink from half the GOP conference, as had been agreed to by a majority of the members, to five dissatisfied lawmakers. But hours later, a group of nine House conservatives issued a letter saying that’s not good enough.

That’s in addition to the five “Never Kevin” lawmakers who have already declared they’re opposing McCarthy. (Remember: He can lose only four votes if all House members cast votes Tuesday.)

But this morning, we can report that that’s not even the worst of it. We caught up Sunday with one of the GOP fence-sitters, a member who has been in the room for these negotiations. And he told us that some of these undecided members won’t support McCarthy — even if he gives them everything they want.

“The problem is people don’t trust Kevin McCarthy and a number won’t vote for him. Those are just the facts,” this lawmaker told us. “The list [of demands] that we offered was not for guaranteed support but rather the kinds of things that might move some of his detractors.”

That’s a huge issue for McCarthy — one that his allies told us days ago they’re worried about. Notably, on the conference call Sunday, McCarthy repeatedly dodged questions from his own rank and file about whether his proposed “motion to vacate” change would even get him the votes.

It won’t, as the missive from the nine conservatives demonstrated Sunday night. And it’s unclear what more McCarthy can give them to change their minds before voting begins. (Politico Playbook)

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According to Forbes, if McCarthy isn't elected Tuesday on the first ballot, it would be the first time since the 1920s that it's taken more than one round of voting to choose a speaker. 

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