Republicans scramble to end McCarthy’s impasse for speakership


After two days of losing votes in a row, Kevin McCarthy is under increasing pressure to end his precarious speakership deadlock.

But even after offering major concessions to his hardline opponents late Wednesday, it remained unclear whether the California Republican would be able to lock in the 218 votes he needed to win the gavel, and as the battle dragged on, lawmakers’ Patience is wearing thin.

The House of Representatives is scheduled to reconvene at 12 noon ET on Thursday. It’s unclear if there will be a seventh vote on McCarthy’s speakership by then, or if Republicans will adjourn. A source familiar with the matter told CNN that McCarthy was wary of getting the extra vote because it would suggest 20 members were against him and he wanted to show some forward momentum.

Opposition Republicans will meet Thursday at 8 a.m. ET, according to the House of Representatives. Warren Davidson backing McCarthy.

“I think after that, they’re going to talk to leader McCarthy and hopefully make a deal,” the Ohio Republican told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins on “CNN This Morning.”

Still, Davidson admitted, “he’ll probably never be 218.”

There are some early signs of some progress in the talks as McCarthy and his allies try to undercut opposition from conservative blocs.

In a series of new concessions first reported by CNN on Wednesday night, McCarthy agreed to propose a rule change to allow only one member to call for a vote to remove the sitting speaker, according to two sources familiar with the matter. McCarthy initially proposed a five-member threshold, lower than current convention rules that require half of Republicans to demand such a vote.

He also agreed to allow more members of the Freedom Caucus to serve on the powerful House Rules Committee, which decides how and if bills will pass, and to vote on bills prioritized by a minority of opponents, including proposed term limits on members and borders. safety plan.

Even if McCarthy’s proposal is accepted, he would still fall short of the 218 votes he needs to become speaker, Republican sources said. While the concessions may attract some new support, other opponents have raised different concerns that have not been adequately addressed.

McCarthy said late Wednesday that there was no deal yet to end the impasse, but progress had been made. “I think people are better off getting more work done,” McCarthy said after the House recessed.

McCarthy has made some concessions to his opponent, though not enough so far.

But Wednesday’s talks between McCarthy allies and holdouts were the most productive and serious so far, sources said. In a sign of a breakthrough, McCarthy-aligned super PACs agreed not to run in open Republican primaries in safe seats — a major demand from conservatives that McCarthy had until then resisted.

Texas Rep. Chip Roy, one of the conservatives who voted against McCarthy for the speakership, told GOP leaders he thought he could bring 10 opponents to the table if ongoing negotiations were successful, according to Republican sources familiar with internal discussions. join in. Critics who might be willing to vote “in there”.

Still, even if those talks prove successful and 10 lawmakers do turn to McCarthy’s column — which is far from certain — it won’t give McCarthy the 218 votes he needs to win the Speaker’s seat, so he’s still There is more work to be done.

McCarthy also met separately Wednesday with the freshman-elect who voted against him, sources told CNN.

During the meeting, McCarthy reiterated some of the things he had already committed to and detailed the concessions.

McCarthy’s direct access to the freshman-elect provides another window into his strategy for winning over opponents.

Incoming House Majority Whip Tom Emmer commented that the talks were “very, very constructive.”

“There’s a whole bunch of members involved, and now there’s some folks sitting down with that discussion and seeing where they want to take it next,” the Minnesota Republican said.

A moderate Republican told CNN on Thursday morning that they are not happy with the concessions, though they are open to “discussions” about them.

The fear is that lowering the voting threshold for voting the Speaker to a member would make managing items such as the debt limit and funding all but impossible.

“I don’t like the rules, but am willing to listen to the discussion. I think they’re a fault of the conference. These minority want a weak speaker with a four-vote majority. I’m worried the public won’t like what they think of the Republican Party,” said the member Say.

The battle for the speaker’s seat began on Tuesday, the first day of the 118th Congress, throwing the new House Republican majority into disarray and weakening the party’s agenda.

As the fight dragged on, the picture of McCarthy’s political future grew dire as even some of his Republican allies grew concerned that the House Republican leader might not be able to complete his bid for speaker if the fight dragged on for longer. bet.

McCarthy has lost six rounds of voting so far. The final Republican count on Wednesday’s sixth ballot was 201 for McCarthy and 20 for the Florida House of Representatives. Byron Donald of Florida and an “attendance” ticket.

The House will remain paralyzed until the impasse is resolved. This is the first time since 1923 that there has been a multiple vote in the election of the speaker.

To be elected speaker, a candidate needs to win a majority of the House of Representatives voting for a particular candidate. If no member skips the poll or votes “present”, it equals 218 votes.

House Republicans won 222 seats in the new Congress, so to reach 218, McCarthy would have to lose only four Republican votes.

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