Kevin Mccarthy Bid To Become House Speaker: With only a few hours left before Republicans take control of the House of Representatives, Representative Kevin McCarthy’s attempt to become speaker remained in jeopardy as he struggled to overcome the staunch opposition of hard-right conservatives and unify his divided majority.
The Republican from California, Mr. McCarthy, faced a turbulent start to the G.O.P. majority in the House because ultraconservative Republicans refused to support him even though he had made a crucial concession that would reduce his influence as speaker.
The confrontation highlighted Mr. McCarthy’s dangerous position within his conference. It ensured that he would be a weaker figure dependent on an emboldened right-wing even if he managed to win.
Mr. McCarthy would need to gain a majority of those present and vote in a vote scheduled for Tuesday around noon when the new Congress convenes — 218 if every member of the House were to attend and cast a ballot.
He appeared to fall short of the near-unanimity he would need inside his ranks to win, despite a laborious weeks-long lobbying effort.
Five Republicans have explicitly stated they will vote against him, while more are either opposed or undecided. Republicans are expected to hold 222 seats, and Democrats are almost sure to vote against him in large numbers, so Mr. McCarthy could afford to lose just a few party members.
Mr. McCarthy labored late into the night on Monday in the Capitol to attempt to get support with little time before the vote, and some allies expressed optimism that he could still close the deficit. Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio told reporters as he exited a meeting in Mr. McCarthy’s office on Monday night, “I think we can get there.
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Even after Mr. McCarthy made a significant concession to the hardliners over the weekend by approving a provision allowing a snap vote to remove the speaker at any moment, negotiations continued.
The modification was one of the top demands made by lawmakers who opposed him. Mr. McCarthy had previously refused to accept it because he believed doing so would be the same as preemptively signing his speakership’s death sentence. But recently, he hinted that he might be okay with it if the requirement for holding such a vote was five lawmakers instead of just one.
That wasn’t enough to convince the five rebels who were against him, and on Sunday night, after Mr. McCarthy revealed the concession in a conference call with House Republicans, more rebels joined the fray.
Mr. McCarthy could not inform legislators and members-to-be on the call that he had won the votes for speaker because the holdouts would not budge.
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According to two people involved with the conversation who insisted on anonymity to characterize it, Mr. McCarthy could only say that he still had time before the vote on Tuesday.
Two hours later, a different group of nine conservative legislators, the majority of whom had previously voiced doubt about Mr. McCarthy’s quest for speaker, mocked his efforts to win over their wing of the party, calling them “nearly impossibly late to address persistent problems.” Representatives Chip Roy of Texas and Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, the leader of the Freedom Caucus, were also present.
The group stated, “The times call for a bold departure from the status quo — not a continuation of previous and ongoing Republican failures.”
“Mr. McCarthy carries the task solely to rectify the dysfunction he now clearly recognizes across that entire career,” the author of the statement said. “For someone with a 14-year presence in top House Republican leadership.”
Later on Monday, the attack escalated when the conservative anti-tax Club for Growth threatened to punish Republicans who supported McCarthy as speaker.
The group declared that it would lower its public evaluations of representatives who voted for any candidate who refused to reinstate the House procedures in place in 2015, which permitted the quick vote of no-confidence that resulted in the ouster of Ohio Republican Speaker John A. Boehner.
Additionally, the group urged that the incoming speaker forbid the top House Republican super P.A.C. from funding open party primaries.
That demand was a response to the principal complaint of House conservative hardliners who were enraged that Mr. McCarthy had utilized the committee to support more mainstream candidates.
Even if members need to vote more than time, which now seems a real possibility, Mr. McCarthy has vowed to battle for the speakership on the House floor until the very end.
Members would cast subsequent votes until Mr. McCarthy, or another contender garnered enough support to succeed if he failed to achieve a majority on Tuesday.
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