Republicans in the House are pledging to support Kevin McCarthy as speaker only, and they will do so for “as long as it takes.”
Reps. Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) and Stephanie Bice (R-Okla.), the chair and vice chair, respectively, of the Republican Main Street Caucus, wrote in a one-page letter dated Friday and first obtained by HEADLINESFOREVER, “We can’t do that if we don’t elect a Speaker on January 3.” “Americans elected a Republican Majority to provide a check and balance on the administration and to find solutions to the problems our nation
The two lawmakers claimed that their group of roughly 70 lawmakers met on Thursday and came to the conclusion that they were ready to support McCarthy for as long as was required. However, they expressed “strong reservations” about any potential rule changes the GOP leader may be considering in an effort to increase his support. The two MPs warned that if McCarthy was not “expediently” elected as speaker, the bloc will stop backing rules changes.
McCarthy won’t receive the 218 votes required to win the speakership because of five conservatives publicly pledging to vote against him. They have been pressing for changes to House rules, particularly to a procedure known as the “motion to vacate” that enables lawmakers to remove a speaker. They have been joined in this effort by other hesitant members. The move to vacate and one other proposed adjustment were also deemed “problematic” by the Main Street Caucus Republicans.
According to Bice and Johsnon, any rule concessions would need to be “meet with genuine, substantive, and verifiable concessions by those fighting Kevin McCarthy’s election as Speaker.”
The letter from Friday comes after one from a collection of over a dozen GOP lawmakers from competitive districts. In a letter on Thursday, those legislators and members-elect from the districts that President Joe Biden won in 2020 expressed a similar sentiment, saying they would support McCarthy “regardless of how many votes it takes.” Additionally, they stated that they would not be backing any sort of “consensus candidate.”
In an effort to win over the critics who have requested rule modifications and other concessions, McCarthy is scheduled to hold a conference call with a limited number of members on Friday to continue negotiating the rules for the upcoming Congress.