Republicans are ecstatic to assume the House majority in 2023 and are anxiously anticipating the new term to address concerns that Democrats have pushed through in the past two years. There is, however, no leadership unity inside the party. Conservative Republicans have attacked current House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy for his concessions and for not taking a forceful enough stance against Democratic ideas.
However, some Republicans believe McCarthy is the best candidate for the position, as he has been able to hold his own for the previous two years, when Democrats have had almost free run.
In November, House Republicans nominated McCarthy for Speaker when the next session begins in January; however, McCarthy faces opposition from other House members. Andy Biggs, a member of the hardline House Freedom Caucus from Arizona, challenged McCarthy for the leadership position. McCarthy has worked tirelessly since then to secure the required 218 Republican votes in the House in January.
Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida has sworn not to vote for McCarthy. According to the Washington Post, Gaetz stated, “To believe that Kevin’s going to be speaker, you have to believe he’s going to move votes in the next six weeks that he couldn’t move in the last six years.” The Post also said that Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma, a McCarthy loyalist, defended McCarthy by stating that he has demonstrated he can handle the position. “The guy has added seats every time he’s been our leader,” Cole said. “He’s our best strategist, he’s our best fundraiser, he’s our best candidate recruiter. Isn’t that the guy you want to lead you? I think so.”
This month, former President Donald Trump praised McCarthy’s leadership abilities. Trump noted in an interview with Breitbart News, “Look, I think this: Kevin has worked very hard. I think he deserves the shot. Hopefully, he’s going to be very strong and going to be very good and he’s going to do what everybody wants.”
Trump referenced the 2015 House situation in which then-Speaker John Boehner resigned after attending seminars with fellow Republicans and was succeeded by Paul Ryan. Trump added that, as in the past, ignoring the present leadership might backfire. Trump remarked, “We ended up with Paul Ryan who was ten times worse. Paul Ryan was an incompetent speaker. I think he goes down as the worst speaker in history.”
According to GOP insiders, though, there is still a section of Republicans who desire a change in leadership.
GOP sources see Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La. ), the GOP whip, as a shoo-in for House speaker if top contender Kevin McCarthy falls short of a majority by the Jan. 3 vote, The Washington Times writes. McCarthy has struggled to garner enough GOP support.
McCarthy can only withstand four GOP defections because to the tiny majority the GOP earned in the midterms. Five are now documented as having resisted McCarthy’s gavel: Arizona’s Andy Biggs, Florida’s Matt Gaetz, Montana’s Matthew Rosendale, South Carolina’s Ralph Norman, and Virginia’s Bob Good.
Just The News states that insiders deem Scalise a generally admired contender for the role of House Speaker.
“If Kevin doesn’t get it, Scalise gets it easily,” a Republican source told the Times. “I think people just trust Steve more, and they don’t always trust Kevin. Scalise is more conservative on the kind of stuff that matters to some people,” another said.
McCarthy’s issues stem in part from his reluctance to deal with holdouts, such as Biggs, who is actively running for speaker, for fear that it would encourage them to make further demands, “Republicans familiar with Mr. McCarthy’s thinking” told the Times.
More on this story via The Republic Brief:
In an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, McCarthy spoke about those who are opposing him as the speaker for the next term. “We’re still continuing to talk, but they have not moved,” McCarthy said, pointing out that the detractors threaten to put the entire House Republican agenda in peril, and that basic decisions on legislating and investigating will be “all in jeopardy.” CONTINUE READING…