by Sharon Rondeau
As many outlets are reporting, Republican House leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA23) is intent on becoming the next Speaker, winning a preliminary vote in November, but as of early Tuesday appears to lack the necessary 218 votes to achieve his goal.
On Tuesday morning, the AP reported:
Choosing a Speaker will be the first vote the House will take before new and returning lawmakers are even sworn into office on Tuesday.
As set out under the Constitution, the session will begin at noon on 3 January, with all the lawmakers seated on the House floor and members from both parties joining in the vote for speaker.
The chamber cannot organise until it has a Speaker since that person effectively serves as the House’s presiding officer and the institution’s administrative head.
Votes from any members who are absent or vote “present” will not be counted toward the Speaker’s race, CBS reports.
According to Keith Koffler of Fox News, “McCarthy has already claimed the choicest piece of real estate on Capitol Hill, having moved into the speaker’s office just recently vacated by Democrat Nancy Pelosi.” However, Koffler added, “…with perhaps more than a dozen Republicans refusing to sign on, McCarthy can measure the drapes all he wants, but he does not hold title to the space.”
House Freedom Caucus chairman Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA10) told Fox News during its 7:00 a.m. hour Tuesday that although he has opposed him, he could vote for McCarthy if he can be persuaded of McCarthy’s intentions.
On Monday Perry told Newsmax that “What it really boils down to is trust over a long period of time. Since trust can’t be built over a period of 60 days or something like that, other things would have to be done to make up for that. For instance, we would need a majority of seats on the Rules Committee or the Appropriations Committee or both of them.”
Others objecting to McCarthy’s candidacy are Reps. Ralph Norman (SC5), Bob Good (VA5), Matt Rosendale (MT at large), Matt Gaetz (FL1), and Andy Biggs (AZ5), Newsmax reported. As of New Year’s Day, several others indicated they, too, would not support him as they called for a “radical departure from the status quo.”
Following a meeting with McCarthy, as of late Monday Gaetz remained a definite “no,” according to Mediaite.
McCarthy was one of three Republican congressmen, including Biggs, referred to the House Ethics Committee by the Select Committee convened to probe the Jan. 6, 2021 “attack” on the U.S. Capitol, for refusing to comply with its subpoenas to testify.
In January 2021 on the House floor, McCarthy denounced then-President Donald Trump as “bear[ing] responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters,” opining, “He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding.”
Trump did, in fact, call for “peace” on his Twitter account and support for law enforcement as the incursion unfolded as well as in an official video address from the White House which Twitter removed.
According to The Mercury News last month, with no other close contenders, McCarthy is resolved to remain in the running for Speaker through multiple rounds of voting if necessary.