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McCarthy Reportedly Makes Key Concessions

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

After two days of deadlock in the battle for the speakership, Republicans on Thursday will once again convene for a seventh vote at noon. Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who has failed to secure the 218 votes needed for the position, is reportedly making more concessions in an effort to bring at least some of his detractors on board.


According to Politico Playbook, he is now open to a rule change that would allow only one member to call for a vote to oust the speaker. Additionally, he would bring more House Freedom Caucus members onto the House Rules Committee, and has signaled an openness to voting on priorities among his opposition.

  • A one-member “motion to vacate”: The GOP leader appears to have finally acquiesced to a demand to lower the threshold needed to force a vote ousting a speaker to just one member. While McCarthy originally indicated that restoring the one-member “motion to vacate” was a red line, his allies now argue that there’s not a huge practical difference between this and his previous offer of requiring five members to trigger the vote.
  • Rules Committee seats for the Freedom Caucus: McCarthy is prepared to give the House Freedom Caucus two seats on the powerful House Rules Committee, which oversees the amendment process for the floor. (Some conservatives are still holding out for four seats on the panel.) There are also talks about giving a third seat to a conservative close to the Freedom Caucus but not in it — someone like Reps. THOMAS MASSIE (R-Ky.). Who will pick those members? We’re told there is ongoing haggling. Typically, it’s the speaker’s prerogative, but conservatives want to choose their own members for these jobs.
  • A vote on term limits: This is a key demand of Rep. RALPH NORMAN (R-S.C.), who has proposed a constitutional amendment limiting lawmakers to three terms in the House.
  • Major changes to the appropriations process: Fears of another trillion-plus-dollar omnibus spending bill have been a major driver of the conservative backlash to McCarthy. The brewing deal includes a promise for standalone votes on each of the 12 yearly appropriations bills, which would be considered under what is known as an “open rule,” allowing floor amendments to be offered by any lawmaker. Conservatives also won a concession to carve out any earmarks included in those packages for separate votes, though it’s unclear if they’d be voted on as one package or separately. (Politico Playbook)

Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), one of the Republicans who has voted against the California Republican, reportedly said he believes he can get a dozen other detractors to vote for McCarthy if the negotiations are productive, while other holdouts may agree to vote “present.” 

Still, McCarthy can only afford to lose four GOP votes to secure the position.

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