Republican lawmakers have been negotiating to end a stalemate and bring enough votes in for Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to become the next House speaker.
The Republican-majority House of Representatives met for a fourth day of votes on the speakership on Friday. Ahead of voting on Friday, McCarthy agreed to some concessions from holdout Republican members and managed to garner new support in the 12th and 13th rounds of voting.
The block of holdout Republicans—many of whom are in the House Freedom Caucus—asked for McCarthy to make several concessions for their support. One of the major concessions McCarthy reportedly offered was to revise the rules allowing lawmakers to make a motion to the chair and call for a vote on a new speaker. McCarthy had initially opposed adding the rule, but eventually agreed to a version that would have required five lawmakers to support the motion before it could proceed. Now, McCarthy is reportedly conceding even further on that rule by lowering the threshold to just one lawmaker.
Other requests that the holdout members have made included expanding the number of seats available to them on the House Rules Committee, imposing a 72-hour waiting period between when a bill is posted and when members can vote on it, and holding a vote for a constitutional amendment that would impose federal limits on serving in the House and Senate.
“I do believe we are making significant progress towards getting a resolution here,” Rep. Mike Lawler (R-N.Y.) told NTD News.
Lawler, who has supported McCarthy’s bid for the speakership from the start, said he favors many of the concessions the Republican holdouts had requested.
“I don’t have a problem with the rules changes. I embrace many of them. The budgetary process changes, I support that. We have to rein in wasteful spending. You cannot continue to spend at the level that the Biden administration, Nancy Pelosi, and Chuck Schumer spent over the last two years, it’s unsustainable,” Lawler said.
“So to be able to rein in out-of-control spending is absolutely critical. So many of these ideas that have been brought forth by members of the Freedom Caucus, by members who are holding out, are ideas that are embraced by the conference as a whole and so I don’t think there’s any issue with that.”
Other Republicans who have supported McCarthy also signaled optimism that they could reach an agreement with the holdout Republicans.
“Obviously, it is hard to predict when a breakthrough happens, but I can tell you I am more confident now that we’re going to get this done than I have been for a long time. The reality is that this agreement is getting closer and closer, it’s within reach. That doesn’t mean it’s a foregone conclusion, but it means it’s within reach,” Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) told NTD News.
Concessions Win Over Some Holdout Republicans
Ahead of the 12th vote for the speakership, Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.), indicated McCarthy had made some progress with the holdouts but said negotiators now need to “put meat on the bones” of the agreement.
“It’s like me telling you I’m going to buy you a car. Well, do you have the right to ask what kind of car, what year car, what size car? Yes. So we’re vetting it as we would do anybody,” Norman added.
Norman, who had initially held out support for McCarthy, was one of the Republicans who flipped in his favor in the 12th round of votes.
Norman said he was specifically pleased with McCarthy’s willingness to implement a 72-hour waiting period before the House can vote on a bill, particularly after Congress passed the $1.7 trillion omnibus bill. Lawmakers only had about 11 hours to read the omnibus bill before the House voted.
House Freedom Caucus Chair Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) told NTD News he sees the changes to the motion to vacate rule as another important concession by McCarthy.
“The motion to vacate is accountability. One person should be able to make the motion—one person. The whole body has to vote on it,” Perry said.
Rep. Dan Bishop (R-N.C.), another Republican holdout who voted for McCarthy on Friday said the negotiating holdouts have had with McCarthy “involves some leaps of good faith, a leap of faith that the concessions are actually implemented.”
Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.), a Republican holdout who had received some support as an alternative option for the speakership, also joined in supporting McCarthy on Friday. When asked if he would try to convince other holdouts to support McCarthy, Donalds said, “We’re going to have that conversation. Absolutely.”
McCarthy’s Supporters Face Questions About Transparency
When asked for details about the concessions McCarthy has made to garner support, Donalds repeatedly declined to provide specifics.
“We don’t want to toss something out that is incomplete,” Donalds said. “We want to make sure it’s fully refined, and everybody understands it.”
When a reporter asked Lawler if McCarthy was “reaching to the far right” with his latest concessions, Lawler said, “The American people elected a Republican House majority. Absolutely we will work together on policy to move the country forward. But in terms of governing, the American people didn’t ask for a Democratic House majority. So with all due respect to the premise of your question, the Republican conference is coming together and the Republican conference will elect a Republican speaker to lead the House forward.”
Democratic lawmakers have raised concerns about reinstating the motion to vacate. Even before McCarthy reportedly agreed to lower the threshold for the motion from five lawmakers to one, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) told NTD News that this particular motion “weakens the position” of the speaker and “makes it very difficult for the speaker to function and it would make the speaker beholden to a very small group.”
Lieu also expressed concerns that the delays in selecting the speaker are bringing about negative consequences for Congress.
“When you don’t have a House of Representatives, that has real-world consequences. So we can’t see any classified documents right now. We can’t conduct oversight. We can’t have committee meetings. We can’t function whatsoever,” Lieu said.
From NTD News