The current fight on the House floor to name a speaker hasn’t been seen in a century. One hundred years ago, it took nine ballots to arrive at a speaker. Kevin McCarthy, despite being endorsed by former President Trump, has so far been unable to gain the needed votes to put him in the position. Those against McCarthy are members of the House Freedom Caucus, conservatives who see McCarthy as a RINO and part of the problem. Others, like Trump, see him as a powerful leader who is primed for the job.
As the first week of the new 2023 House session continues to be held in limbo due to the continued voting for Speaker, the gloves are coming off within the Republican Party. Not only Trump but other key Republicans are set for McCarthy. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene for the last month and a half has been nonstop pushing for Rep. Kevin McCarthy to be House speaker.
Greene however has just pledged even more allegiance to McCarthy and stated anyone who votes against him is a “destructionist”. Greene, who is a conservative, is calling out her conservative friends in the House. She would even call out her previous friend in Congress Rep. Matt Gaetz.
Greene stated “If my friends in the Freedom Caucus, Matt Gaetz and others .. they’re proving to the country that they don’t care about doing the right thing for America .. they’re just destructionists. That’s why Republicans fail, and I’m really tired of it.”
Marge: “If my friends in the Freedom Caucus, Matt Gaetz and others .. they’re proving to the country that they don’t care about doing the right thing for America .. they’re just destructionists. That’s why Repubs fail, and I’m really tired of it. 🎥 RSBN pic.twitter.com/T1gMvN8uOI
— Ron Filipkowski 🇺🇦 (@RonFilipkowski) January 3, 2023
As a response to MTG’s criticism, Gaetz told the press “If you want to drain the swamp, you cannot put the biggest alligator in charge of the exercise.”
— ALX 🇺🇸 (@alx) January 3, 2023
The Freedom Caucus, or House Freedom Caucus, is a congressional caucus consisting of conservative Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives. Formed in January 2015 by conservatives and members of the Tea Party movement with the aim of pushing the Republican leadership to the right, it named Jim Jordan as its first chairman. Scott Perry is the current chairman.
The caucus previously claimed 54 seats in the House and includes some who are considered libertarians. The caucus has supported President Trump loyally. Pew research identifies 36 members of the Caucus.
As the second day of voting for Speaker continues in the House, the caucus members are so far holding firm, despite the urging from former President Trump to band together.
“Some really good conversations took place last night, and it’s now time for all of our GREAT Republican House Members to VOTE FOR KEVIN.” Trump posted today. He beseeched Republicans not to “TURN A GREAT TRIUMPH INTO A GIANT & EMBARRASSING DEFEAT.” “Kevin McCarthy will do a good job, and maybe even a GREAT JOB – JUST WATCH!” Trump added.
The New York Times reports that the “mutiny” waged by the conservative lawmakers has held firm in its resolve to oppose McCarthy, “paralyzing the chamber at the dawn of Republican rule, delaying the swearing in of hundreds of members of Congress, putting off any legislative work and exposing the deep divisions that threatened to make the party’s House majority ungovernable.”
But, this is the exact reason for the Caucus. To remove RINO lawmakers from leadership. And the Caucus sees McCarthy as one of those RINOS holding back the conservative initiatives of the Republican Party.
For his part, McCarthy is not giving up. the Times reports that McCarthy says, “I’m staying until we win. I know the path.” McCarthy has vowed not to back down until he secures the speakership, raising the prospect of a grueling stretch of votes that could go on for days.
House precedent dictates that members continue to vote until someone secures the majority needed to prevail. But until Tuesday, the House had not failed to elect a speaker on the first roll call vote since 1923, when the election stretched out for nine ballots.
“I think that Kevin knows that this is his last shot, and so he’s going to play this as long as ” he can, said Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado, who voted for McCarthy three times on Tuesday. “He withdrew once so that he would have this chance. He’s not going to have this chance again.”
The failed votes on Tuesday showed publicly the extent of the opposition McCarthy faces. with all members of the House present and voting, McCarthy needs to receive 218 votes to become speaker, leaving little room for Republican defections since the party controls only 222 seats. He fell short again and again, drawing no more than 203 votes – far below a majority and fewer than the votes received by Hakeem Jefferies to lead the Democrats.
No viable challenger has emerged, but if McCarthy continues to lose votes, Republicans could shift their support to an alternative, such as his No.2, Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, who has previously been mentioned as an alternative to McCarthy.