The Republican Party barely retook the House of Representatives during the 2022 midterms, which is the only silver lining in a monumentally disappointing election cycle. The indicators all pointed to a red tsunami wiping out Democrats nationally. It never materialized, but Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was jubilant since he’s slated to become the next Speaker of the House. Sure, voters ‘fired’ Nancy Pelosi from her leadership position, but the feeling of this year being a squandered opportunity for Republicans to establish a sizeable majority in the House and retake the Senate is pervasive. But the election is over, and we must now at least breathe some relief that we can gum up the works legislatively on some of the most damaging portions of the Biden agenda, albeit with a slim House majority.
Yet, before we can draw battle plans, there’s the story about the vote count concerning McCarthy’s speakership candidacy. Reps. Jim Banks (R-IN) and Steve Scalise (R-LA), two candidates who could have mounted campaigns for the position, opted not to run, paving the way for McCarthy to cruise into the speaker’s office. But we have rumblings that 20 ‘NO’ votes could imperil the California Republican’s House speakership bid (via The Hill):
Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) said 20 members of the House Republican Conference are “pretty hard no” votes against House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) becoming Speaker next session.
Biggs said in an interview on the podcast “Conservative Review with Daniel Horowitz” that those who plan to not vote for McCarthy are not all from the House Freedom Caucus, the most conservative group in the body.
Biggs, a former chair of the Freedom Caucus, ran against McCarthy to be the GOP’s nominee for the Speakership earlier this month. McCarthy won the vote, 188-31, with five representatives voting for neither man.
But McCarthy needs to win 218 votes on Jan. 3, the first day of the next session of Congress, to become Speaker, and Republicans are set to hold only a narrow majority, meaning he cannot afford to lose many votes.
All Democrats will likely support their party’s nominee, which will likely be Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.). McCarthy warned in an interview with Newsmax on Monday that Democrats could pick the next Speaker if Republicans “play games” on the House floor.
At least five House Republicans, including Biggs, have publicly said or strongly indicated they will not vote for McCarthy on the floor.
Let’s take it easy here. First, while everyone in the Republican conference is probably not a fan of Mr. McCarthy, he is the GOP leader, and the worst thing the party can send to its voters—who remain disappointed over the lack of victories on election night—is to kick off the next session with utter chaos. It will undoubtedly confirm most voters' suspicion about the GOP, which prevented them from voting for them: the penchant for mayhem and things going off the rails. Second, we had seen this movie before with John Boehner in 2013. There was a flurry of stories about how the Tea Party elements in the House would rebel against him—Boehner won. It’s when those not keen on McCarthy vent to the press, but I expect McCarthy to take the gavel in January. That’s not an endorsement—it’s just what it is. The ones which could have challenged him stepped aside. What else is there?