Kevin McCarthy optimistic about House speaker’s vote despite GOP criticism

Rep. Kevin McCarthy expressed optimism that the House Speaker’s vote is less than a day away, despite heavy criticism from some of his fellow Republicans.

The GOP leader began moving into the Speaker’s office on Capitol Hill after outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi recently left the office, according to The hill. Then, as he left office on Monday, reporters asked McCarthy if he was successful in getting the votes to win the presidency on Tuesday.

“And take away all the excitement?” McCarthy responded, adding, “I think we’ll have a good day tomorrow,” according to video posted on Twitter by NBC News reporter Haley Talbot.

McCarthy was nominated by House Republicans in a 188-31 secret ballot vote for president – a significant role that is second in line to the presidency after vice president just in case. the Commander-in-Chief would be incapacitated.

Above, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from California, speaks during his weekly press conference on Capitol Hill May 23, 2019, in Washington, DC McCarthy expressed optimism about the House Speaker’s vote, scheduled for Tuesday, despite strong criticism from some fellow Republicans. .
Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

McCarthy announced his candidacy for president after his party narrowly won a majority in the House in November’s midterm elections. But he has since faced heavy criticism from some conservative GOP members who could stand in the way of a victory.

Some of his harshest critics include Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, who doesn’t want him to become a speaker because he claims the California Republican doesn’t fully live up to GOP values ​​and the party’s agenda. .

Meanwhile, fellow Republicans such as Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell pledged their support for his presidential bid.

Still, to become president, McCarthy must garner support from right-wing social conservatives as well as more moderate Republicans representing the districts President Joe Biden won in 2020.

How can McCarthy secure the hammer?

McCarthy needs 218 votes — one more than half of the House’s 434 members if all members are present and vote — to win the presidency. Still, lawmakers can skip the vote or vote “present,” which would then lower the voting threshold required to win the gavel.

In a hypothetical scenario presented by USA today in which McCarthy gets 216 votes, when a Democratic candidate has 212 votes and six representatives vote for someone else, he would still not win the presidency despite the plurality.

But if those six reps abstain from voting for someone else, they don’t count toward the required votes, reducing the total votes cast to 428, which then means McCarthy could win with his 216 votes. , reported the newspaper.

The House’s total of 434 members is one shy of its usual 435 due to the death of Virginia Rep. Donald McEachin in November.

Why some Republicans don’t want McCarthy to be Speaker of the House

Gaetz has previously said he won’t vote for McCarthy because there are things the California Republican has done “to erode the trust of members that he needs to vote for him if he wants to be president.”

Additionally, Gaetz faulted McCarthy for not stopping Democrats from passing budget bills, pushing for immigration bills that included amnesty, and not doing enough to hold accountable. officials who opposed former President Donald Trump.

Meanwhile, last month, seven House Republicans sent McCarthy a letter listing their demands in return for their support.

Their requests included a return to single-issue bills, 72 hours for a final piece of legislation, leaders not getting involved in primary elections, the appointment of conservative Republicans to the House Rules Committee, and a pledge not to raise the debt ceiling.

McCarthy has also faced backlash from Republicans who are against his promise to bar some lawmakers from serving on their committees. McCarthy has repeatedly promised he would remove California Reps. Eric Swalwell and Adam Schiff, who both serve on the House Standing Select Committee on Intelligence, and Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, who sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. bedroom.

Representatives Nancy Mace of South Carolina and Andy Barr of Kentucky said they oppose such a move.

Former White House adviser Steve Bannon said Newsweek Saturday on some of the possible reasons why some GOP lawmakers are still critical of McCarthy.

“The problem with Kevin isn’t that people don’t like him. Kevin is well-liked. It has nothing to do with it,” Bannon said. “It has to do with really, what the Republican Party stands for – what MAGA stands for and how we’re going to deal with this situation.” (MAGA is an acronym for “Make America great again,” which Trump has repeatedly used at his rallies as a campaign slogan.)

Bannon added that one of the big concerns of McCarthy’s critics is what he really stands for.

“Over the past 48, 72 hours, people have been like, ‘Well, hold it. This guy is willing to give things he never said [he would]”” Bannon said.

McCarthy’s latest attempt to get votes

McCarthy recently offered his biggest concession to the GOP caucus by backing a move making it easier to remove a sitting House speaker, a move he has long opposed.

McCarthy agreed Sunday night to lower the threshold for pushing a floor vote, known as a nullification motion. He confirmed that there would be the possibility of “freeing the chair” if five House Republicans support such a motion. Currently, the House GOP majority is required to call such a decision.

Newsweek contacted the Republican National Committee for comment.


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