House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy failed for the seventh time to win a majority vote for the speakership despite offering concessions to his Republican detractors, including an easier way to remove him should he ultimately win the elections. elections for office.
On the third day of deadlock in the House, McCarthy’s opponents again denied him the 218 votes needed to be named president in the unofficial count.
The California Republican’s latest batch of concessions threatens to weaken his power in the House and his ability to rein in his party’s hardliners, raising the risk of chaos on issues like the debt ceiling and public spending. But it may be the only way McCarthy, who dropped out of a speaking offer in 2015, can get the job.
McCarthy, who continues to express optimism that a deal will be reached, has offered a group of Republican mavericks one of his biggest demands: reduce the number of members needed to file a motion to vacate the presidency to a single lawmaker, a person familiar with the talks said.
Under current parliamentary rules, it would take half the Republicans in the House to bring a motion to remove the leader. Shifting that to just one lawmaker would leave the speaker, second in line to the presidency, facing possible repeat attempts at impeachment.
McCarthy previously offered to reduce the number of lawmakers needed to file the vacate motion to five.
The most staunch mavericks haven’t been part of the latest horse market, though. Dissenters like Andy Biggs, Matt Gaetz, Lauren Boebert and Bob Good continue to say they will never vote for McCarthy. Matt Rosendale and Eli Crane are also part of that group. If everyone opposes McCarthy, he remains blocked.
McCarthy has faced three days of voting on the House floor without getting the majority of the votes he needs against unified Democratic opposition.
McCarthy said Wednesday night that he is making “progress” in talks with his Republican opponents. But the latest concessions show that if he succeeds, he is paying a heavy price.
In 2015, a motion to quash was filed against former President John Boehner, a Republican who resigned before the vote took place.
McCarthy has also offered to comply with demands to seat some far-right conservatives on plum committees, including at least two of them on the House Rules Committee; they had been looking for four.
In addition, votes on term limits and border security have been promised, and additional changes to the budget and appropriations are being discussed, along with chairs of specific subcommittees. Those changes will be hard for the appropriators, some of McCarthy’s biggest supporters, to swallow.
McCarthy Flails, Republicans Argue: Explaining Congressional Chaos
Arkansas Republican Steve Womack, an appropriator, walked out of the Thursday morning meeting saying “frustrated” isn’t enough to describe his reaction to the latest concessions. He said that he would go through the proposal, line by line.
“There’s not a word,” Womack said of her feelings on the proposal. “Webster hasn’t found a word yet.”
Still, even supporters say it will be hard for McCarthy to get 218 votes, which would meet the required threshold of 50% plus one vote to be elected.
Republicans hold a 222-212 seat lead, but with 20 Republicans opposing him, he’s a long way from that, and Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries has gotten even more votes. At least four Republicans have said they will not vote for McCarthy no matter what.
But one person involved said there is talk of enticing some of those Republicans to endorse McCarthy and then convincing others to simply vote for no one, lowering the majority threshold. That would reduce the total number of votes McCarthy would need.
Meanwhile, the Democrats are watching it all play out.
“He’s given away everything, including his dignity, so I don’t know what else he has left to give away,” Massachusetts Democrat Jim McGovern said Wednesday night.