Kevin McCarthy may fall short of House Speaker

While it does appear that Republicans have retaken control of the House of Representatives, it is by no means a sure thing that Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy will automatically ascend to Nancy Pelosi’s Speaker of the House throne.

If he wants to do that, says the Republican House Freedom Caucus (HFC), he’s going to have to address their concerns — something the GOP leader has yet to do.

To become House Speaker, McCarthy needs 218 votes, and to get them, he’ll need to meet a list of HFC’s demands presented by the group’s chair, Scott Perry (R-Pa.), prior to the election, according to a report from Politico Playbook.

McCarthy has thus far failed to accept those points, and while the HFC’s 42 members may not have been able to sway the race under normal circumstances, the disappointing Tuesday results — more of a ripple than the red wave McCarthy promised — could force the minority leader to play ball or face a challenger that would represent a “show of force to demonstrate that he doesn’t have the 218 votes” to win the prize, HFC member Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.) said.

“We know there are a number of members who feel as we do, that Kevin McCarthy has not earned the right to lead, has not earned our vote,” Good stated.


Chief among those demands is restoring the “motion to vacate.” The House rule, which Democrats recently eliminated, “allows a single member to force a vote on the speakership at any given time,” reports Politico Playbook.

“It’s what sent Boehner packing in 2015 and something conservatives would undoubtedly use to pressure McCarthy against cutting bipartisan deals — i.e., governing,” the outlet explains, adding that meeting that demand “would be painful and potentially crippling.”

Handing the left the motion to vacate, opponents argue, “would allow Democrats to wreak havoc in the chamber.”

Meanwhile, Perry has called for a delay to next week’s leadership races.

“The rules of the game should be known before we select a captain,” he said. “We don’t know what the majority is or who is in the majority. It seems appropriate that we have a family conversation prior to voting.”

As for McCarthy, he didn’t wait until control of the House was officially called to announce his bid for Speaker.

In a Wednesday letter to colleagues, he wrote, “I am determined to ensure that this majority reaches its full potential. I will be a listener every bit as much as a Speaker, striving to build consensus from the bottom-up rather than commanding the agenda from the top-down.”

“That means putting the right people in the right spots and harnessing the power of our entire conference,” McCarthy stated.

Online, conservative Twitter users aren’t so keen on McCarthy taking the lead.

“New GOP’s first test is to remove RINOs from leadership — the two Mc’s aren’t fighters, except against their own President or fellow Republicans,” said Lou Dobbs.

And Jenna Ellis stated, “Kevin McCarthy absolutely should not be speaker if GOP gets control of the House.”

As one Twitter user put it, “Putting Kevin McCarthy as Speaker is not winning.”

Melissa Fine


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