Having grown accustomed to meddling in Republican Party elections with minimal media fanfare, House Democrats are scheming to influence the vote for speaker of the House.
While vote counting remarkably continues in a number of races in the House and Senate three days after the election, with at least one state, Arizona, pointing to sometime next week as a wrap-up point — no firm promise, though — the Republican Party is widely expected to eke out enough votes to control the House, with current Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. seen by many as the next speaker.
Nonetheless, conservative Republicans who make up the House Freedom Caucus, dubbed the “hardliners” by the media, are not going to just surrender their vote for a more moderate choice without getting some commitments in return.
It was under this scenario that U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., appealed to McCarthy to cut a deal with Democrats — a move that would likely render Republican control of the House a two-year disaster of infighting and ineffectiveness.
“Just cut a deal with the Dems Kevin. Whatever you get from Freedom Caucus will not be worth it. The odds will be good but the goods will be odd,” Gallego tweeted.
Just cut a deal with the Dems Kevin. Whatever you get from Freedom Caucus will not be worth it. The odds will be good but the goods will be odd. https://t.co/CZDWY1yyfO
— Ruben Gallego (@RubenGallego) November 10, 2022
McCarthy, who recently backed away from any talk about impeaching President Biden and others in his administration, needs 218 votes to become speaker of the House, and U.S. Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, told reporters that “no one currently has 218.”
U.S. Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., said there will need to be a “frank conversation” about who the GOP selects for speaker after the midterm elections, where an expected red wave was reduced to a red trickle — Florida notwithstanding.
“I’ve heard from multiple of my constituents who question the wisdom of proceeding forward with that leadership,” Biggs said, according to CNN.
As unappetizing as Gallego’s offer may be for Republican voters, some Democrats are floating an attempted alternative GOP nominee, according to the Washington Examiner: U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo.
A newfound hero of Democrats, Cheney will soon be out of her seat, having gotten blown away in the GOP primary earlier this year, being a member of Congress is not required to be the speaker. Of course, the likelihood of finding 218 votes to back such a cockamamie idea is farfetched.
An anonymous Democratic lawmaker told the Examiner that McCarthy has a better chance of hanging around if he strikes a deal with Democrats.
“Either you can be speaker for two years and go cash out on Wall Street or be speaker for three months and get pushed out by the Freedom Caucus,” the lawmaker said, suggesting that they could get a lot from McCarthy because he is “so vapid and desperate for power.”
“Won’t know that until the dust settles, the margin is determined, and how badly McCarthy needs some Dem support. Anything is possible,” another member told the newspaper. “Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, not in speakership races.”
At the same time, McCarthy’s downplaying of Jan. 6 could be a deal breaker for some Democrats. Citing a Democratic operative, the Examiner also said that any such deal with McCarthy would be political suicide and “would likely be shot down” by Speaker Nancy Pelosi if she continues to lead the Democrat caucus.
“That’s political suicide for any Dem that votes for that. You may get a naive mod who thinks it makes sense. I imagine some responsible adult would explain to them how Washington works in that case,” the source said. “I get that strategically [there could be certain things Democrats could gain], but I see no way Pelosi greenlights that, especially given that it’s McCarthy and what she thinks of him. They’ve got a circular firing squad going on right now — no need for us to interrupt them.”
“I find that HIGHLY unlikely,” another member said in a text. “But stranger things have happened, I guess.”
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