House Democrats are piling on Republicans ahead of Tuesday’s election for speaker of the House, while Republican leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., is starting the day short of the votes he needs to win.
The House will convene at noon to vote for the next speaker and at least a dozen conservative Republicans have vowed to deny McCarthy the 218 votes he needs. They say he has failed to make concrete promises on rules changes that would empower rank-and-file lawmakers or to bring up legislation to secure the border, balance the budget, and more.
Onlooking Democrats are eating up the conflict, comparing it to a Netflix drama and contrasting the GOP’s internal fight with their party’s unity around incoming minority leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y.
“If you’ve run out of Netflix shows, there’s a new one out at 12pm-starring House Republicans. Instead of fighting inflation, they’re fighting each other,” Rep. Grace Meng, D-N.Y., tweeted.
USER’S MANUAL TO THE SPEAKER’S VOTE ON THE HOUSE FLOOR TUESDAY
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy speaks to a GOP fundraising dinner on July 29, 2022, in Columbia, South Carolina.
(AP Photo/Meg Kinnard, File)
“It’s the beginning of 2023 and House Republicans already show they can’t govern,” said Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif. “The weakness of Kevin McCarthy and the rise of the extreme MAGA caucus have already had ramifications. No committee assignments could occur because McCarthy was unable to negotiate ratios with Dems.”
McCarthy has negotiated with the holdouts in his conference for weeks, putting important House business on hold while the future remains uncertain. Committee leadership elections have been delayed until after Jan. 3, preventing committees responsible for advancing the GOP legislative agenda from drawing up bills, scheduling hearings, or hiring staff.
HOW CLOSE IS KEVIN MCCARTHY TO THE 218 VOTES HE NEEDS TO BECOME SPEAKER?
Rep. Scott Perry takes a question from a reporter at a news conference held by the House Freedom Caucus on Capitol Hill, on Aug. 23, 2021.
(AP Photo/Amanda Andrade-Rhoades, File)
Incoming Democratic Leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries speaks during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol on Dec. 13, 2022.
(Nathan Howard/Getty Images)
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Nevertheless, McCarthy’s opposition is not backing down. House Freedom Caucus chairman Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., put out a statement Tuesday morning accusing McCarthy of maintaining the “status quo” in Washington, D.C., and stating that he “rejected” his opportunity to be speaker.
“Kevin McCarthy’s ambition to be Speaker is being held hostage by the far right,” said Rep. Ritchie Torres, D-N.Y. “The division and dysfunction of House Republicans stands in contrast to the unity of House Democrats around Hakeem Jeffries.
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“A tale of two Houses is unfolding. Governing vs Grandstanding,” he added.