House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has had a difficult time getting the requisite 218 votes to secure his role as the next Speaker of the House, but, according to the Republican National Committee’s (RNC) former communications director, House Republicans have managed to pull themselves together and will push the Californian over the finish line, despite fervent attempts by members of the House Freedom Caucus (HFC) to prevent them from doing so.
“It’s very interesting in the House right now,” Doug Heye told CNN’s Bianna Golodryga on Thursday.
“We often hear that the Republican moderates are going to flex their muscles,” he explained. “It seems every six months there’s an issue [that] comes up where moderates starting to talk about flexing their muscle and quite often they don’t even know where the gym is. But this time, they’re organized, they’re active.”
As BizPac Review has reported, McCarthy won the nomination for House Speaker with 85% of the vote, but 15% of the vote went to Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), with fellow HFC members, Matt Gaetz (Fla.), Bob Good (Va.), Ralph Norman (S.C.), and Matt Rosendale (Mont.), holding out with vows of “Never Kevin.”
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The battle between the leaders has some fearing a “doomsday” scenario in which neither McCarthy nor Biggs reach 218 votes, as the January date fast approaches.
CNN reports that some Republicans even considered kicking those who oppose McCarthy off their committees.
Ultimately, the notion of removing their opposition from their panel assignments was shot down.
“You can’t afford to kick people off the island if that brings you below 218 votes,” one committee member reportedly said.
Some in the GOP are looking at other ways to thwart their defiant colleagues.
“That includes weighing whether to oppose a rules package if it includes reinstating an arcane tool that would empower any member to bring up a floor vote to oust a speaker at any time, as well as the longshot idea of teaming up across the aisle with Democrats to elect a speaker if the race goes to multiple ballots and no one budges,” CNN states.
Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) says it’s all a matter of teamwork.
“Teams win. Fractured teams lose,” he said of the holdouts. “We can’t let a handful hold the conference hostage.”
Heye says some House Republicans are answering the cries of “Never Kevin” with “O.K.” buttons, for “Only Kevin.”
“Moderates are in this for a long fight,” he said. “And they’re going after the Freedom Caucus part of the Republican conference in a way that they usually talk about but don’t do. This is a pretty significant development and bodes well for Kevin as this very difficult process moves forward.”
While Heye may be optimistic about McCarthy’s success, Biggs is showing no signs of backing down, even amid talks of retribution.
“When you do the right thing, if somebody wants to punish you for doing the right thing? That’s on them,” he told CNN.
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