Haven’t we heard this before? Ah well, hope springs eternal, and all that. According to Punchbowl’s Jake Sherman, Kevin McCarthy has announced a proposal that should make him Speaker of the House.

Or closer to it. Or something.

But later …

NBC News heard the same thing from their own source:

“I’m not telling you we have an agreement,” McCarthy said at one point, according to two people. “We’re in a good position and having meetings.”

A GOP member on the conference call Friday morning said that Republicans were “laying out parameters of a deal but no true deal yet.”

Another GOP lawmaker told NBC News that there was no agreement yet.

“In a great spot” means “losing the next set of balloting.” McCarthy’s still pitching hard, though:

That concession had essentially been made earlier in the week. McCarthy came into Tuesday offering a five-vote minimum for the Motion to Vacate the Chair (MTV), which forces a new Speaker election when invoked. It didn’t take long for McCarthy and everyone else to realize that there’s no functional difference between five and one in this session. If Freedom Caucus (FC) conservatives want that fight, they can rustle up at least five and likely double digits to unseat McCarthy.

In my previous post, I outlined some of the other aspects of the deal from last night. The most important of these would be real diversity on the Rules Committee and nearly half of the GOP’s seats reserved for the FC conservatives. That would likely force rules on each bill that would allow for an open amendment process of the kind that horrifies the Washington Post but actually might produce more responsible legislation than the current top-down dictatorial process keeps churning out. It would almost certainly force an end to omnibus budgeting, a key demand from the FC and a very important goal overall.

At this point, though, the concessions may matter less than whether the FC holdouts actually want a deal at all. Chip Roy has remained engaged in negotiations, hoping to win principled changes to the House process, but more than four of the holdouts have expressed their absolute opposition to McCarthy in personal terms.

We’ll likely find out soon. Also according to Punchbowl, McCarthy plans to keep the House in session all weekend in order to keep forcing votes until he wins. But if he doesn’t start winning converts, what’s the point?

Should this call come together, McCarthy and his allies will lay out what they’ve decided and try to rally all 222 House Republicans behind it – or at least enough to make him speaker.

→ The grind-it-out theory: McCarthy insists he doesn’t anticipate adjourning the House for any significant period of time – i.e. the weekend – until the speaker’s race is wrapped up.

“We shouldn’t leave. Why should we leave if we haven’t got our work done?” McCarthy told us as he left the Capitol around 9:45 p.m. last night. …

As we’ve explained for days, if Roy is able to reach a deal with the pro-McCarthy faction on the rules package, Roy needs to bring along 10 or so Republicans with him. McCarthy can then try to pressure the final conservative holdouts to move to his side. It’s a high-wire act that needs to be executed impeccably. So far, it hasn’t yielded the results McCarthy has hoped for, obviously.

McCarthy also asked, “Who else can get 218?” Jake Sherman calls that “very true,” but it’s beside the point if McCarthy can’t get there. If there really is no Republican who can get a House majority by holding the caucus together, then the options get uglier. The only real option at that point might be to start cutting deals with Hakeem Jeffries to at least keep the gavel in GOP hands, but that’s a very risky proposition.

The first test of this proposal will come at noonish today. If McCarthy does pick up half of the dissidents, then the grind-it-out tactics might work — and might even get a handful of Democrats pitching in without concessions just to bring the fight to a close. If no one moves after this, though, the credibility of Roy and the other negotiators will drop dramatically. Stay tuned.

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