If House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA.) wants to obtain the Speakers gavel in next Congress, he has to convince members of his caucus he’s the right man for the job.
The countdown to January 3 — when Representatives vote on who takes up the gavel — is days away. Besides tackling a fast-approaching deadline, McCarthy will have to contend with the many House Republicans who expressed opposition to his bid for Speaker when Congress departed on Friday (December 23).
If McCarthy can’t get nearly every Republican in his caucus to vote for him, the stage is set for a dramatic Speaker’s vote or series of votes that could test loyalties and shatter McCarthy’s ambitions.
On Friday, as Congress departed, reporters queried what McCarthy’s plans were to lock up support to secure the Speaker’s gavel. He brushed off those queries by telling reporters to “go home” and “have a really nice Christmas.”
Most detrimental to McCarthy’s bid is the four-seat majority Republicans have in the House, while five Republicans have expressed their opposition — either explicitly or implied — to McCarthy’s bid.
Others threatened to withhold their support from McCarthy until he committed to governing priorities and rule changes that would give individual members more power.
If McCarthy cannot secure the 218 votes needed to win the Speaker’s vote, the vote will have to go to a second ballot — which hasn’t happened in a century.
McCarthy has been attempting to win over his critics with several overtures.
For example, when many of those withholding support from McCarthy vowed to block the bills of Senators who backed the $1.7 trillion omnibus spending package, McCarthy endorsed the idea, pledging that those bills would be “dead in the water” if he became Speaker.