Who are the Republicans at odds with Kevin McCarthy as House speaker?
WASHINGTON –The 118th Congress making history before a single vote is cast, promising a stroke January 3 between “never Kevin’s” and “only Kevin’s.”
The smile on rep. Kevin McCarthy’s face as he left the Capitol Monday predicting “a good day tomorrow” may indicate he believes the “only Kevins” will win in his bid for house speeches.
But there are more than a dozen members in his Republican Party who say they will vote against him, raise concerns or remain on the fence about whether to support him.
The outcome this week is unknown, but the math is clear: In a House with a narrow Republican majority, McCarthy can only afford to lose four votes if he wants to hold the speaker’s gavel.
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If McCarthy is not elected on the first ballot, he would be the first speaker candidate in 100 years to fail. If the vote goes to multiple votes, rounds of voting and drags on for days, it would be the first time anything like this has happened in Congress since the Civil War.
And McCarthy supporters, such as Rep. Don Bacon of Nebraska, has not ruled out encouraging moderate Republicans and some Democrats to get McCarthy the necessary 218 votes.
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House Republicans who could stand in McCarthy’s way
There are two main blocs in the Republican House caucus that could stand in his way during Tuesday’s vote to choose the next speaker: the five “never Kevins” who have publicly said they will not vote for him, and nine conservatives members withholding support as they push for changes to the rules of the house.
“Never Kevins” includes reps. Andy Biggs of Arizona, Matt Gaetz of Florida, Bob Good of Virginia, Ralph Norman of South Carolina and Matt Rosendale of Montana.
“McCarthy has gone into full bargaining mode to get last-minute votes for the House,” Biggs said in a statement Monday afternoon. “There are no principles anymore. It has become a take-what-you-need motto. This is what a McCarthy speakership would look like and would put our country last.”
A group of nine conservative lawmakers pushing for concessions includes Reps. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Paul Gosar of Arizona, Chip Roy of Texas, Dan Bishop of North Carolina, Andy Harris of Maryland, Andrew Clyde of Georgia and three newly elected representatives: Eli Crane of Arizona, Anna Paulina Luna of Florida and Andy Ogles of Tennessee .
In a letter Sunday night, the nine lawmakers noted that McCarthy has made some concessions, but not enough.
For example, they want a single member – rather than five – to be able to remove a speaker. And they don’t want House leadership to spend money against or campaign against conservatives in open primaries.
“Nothing changes when nothing changes, and it has to start at the top,” Perry said in a statement Monday. “Time to make the change or get out of the way.”
The pressure campaign against McCarthy continued Tuesday night, with the conservative group Club for Growth encourages its members to vote against a speaker candidate who does not meet its requirements.
One demand involves holding a vote on term limits that include three terms in the House and two in the Senate “to expose career politicians who serve only their own interests and to enrich themselves, not public service in the best interest of the American people.”
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Candy Woodall is a congressional reporter for USA TODAY. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @candynotcandace.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Republicans vote against Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House of Representatives