Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy told reporters Tuesday was going to be a “good day” after his staff spent Monday morning moving his office furniture into the Speaker’s chambers.
The California Republican looked a bit stressed on Monday afternoon as he stormed out of the US Capitol when reporters questioned him after next day’s Housewide vote to choose their chamber’s leader.
McCarthy’s campaign for the hammer has been a bit bumpy for weeks, but the pressure has mounted over the past 48 hours as up to 15 GOP members were reportedly poised to vote against him. He can only lose four votes to still claim victory.
Earlier that day, his staff were seen wheeling belongings and carts into the House Speaker’s office in the US Capitol.
The move takes place according to the standard protocol CNNbut it means he’ll have to move out again if more than four House Republicans rebel against his cause — which is becoming an increasingly likely scenario.
A group of five Republicans leading the “Never Kevin” movement seems to have inspired more to join their cause. One of them, Rep. Bob Good, told Fox & Friends Monday he expects between 10 and 15 people to vote against McCarthy.
He said the Republican leader is “part of the problem, not the solution.”
It’s a sentiment echoed by nine other House Republicans in a New Year’s letter.
House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy looked a little harried as he exited the US Capitol on Monday afternoon
Reporters asked him if he was confident about Tuesday’s speakership vote
Previously, his associates were seen bringing boxes into the Speaker’s chambers
McCarthy told his colleagues on Sunday he was willing to make certain concessions to win support that he and conference moderators had been suspicious of for weeks. The most controversial of these is a motion to vacate the presidency, which under currently proposed rules would allow all five House Republicans to demand a vote for a new speaker.
But the nine current and incoming House Republicans signed a letter calling McCarthy’s announcement “almost impossibly late.”
Still, he told reporters in a video shared by NBC News’ Haley Talbot, “I think we’re going to have a good day tomorrow.”
McCarthy needs 218 votes to become Speaker, meaning he can only afford to lose the support of four Republicans.
And in a somber sign for his campaign, even McCarthy’s supporters are talking about a plan B again.
Republican Rep. Don Bacon of Nebraska, a moderate, wrote an op-ed in the Daily Caller Monday calling McCarthy’s leadership “outstanding” but reiterating that he is willing to work with Democrats on an alternative if the anti-McCarthy rebellion should be successful.
“There has been much talk of working with more moderate Democrats to choose a more moderate speaker,” Bacon wrote.
“But my actual words were that if the five refuse to agree on what the vast majority of the conference wants, I’m willing to work across the aisle to find a comfortable Republican.”
Q: Speaker voices locked?
KM: and take away all the fuss?
Q: Have you locked the voices?
KM: I think we’re going to have a good day tomorrow
Q: Leader McCarthy, are you willing to make further concessions in exchange for votes?
KM: *sigh* I hope you all have a happy new year pic.twitter.com/k6HFLAUME7
— Haley Talbot (@haleytalbotnbc) January 2, 2023
Virginia Rep. Bob Good (right) told Fox & Friends that he expects as many as 15 Republicans to vote Tuesday against Kevin McCarthy’s candidacy for House Speaker, and claims the current GOP leader is part of the “swamp cartel”.
In his Fox interview Monday, Good said his constituents in Virginia’s 5th congressional district told me not to endorse Kevin McCarthy as speaker.
He also claimed that the group of 14 lawmakers, who have already publicly said they will not back McCarthy, don’t necessarily have an alternative in mind — they just want to prevent him from taking on outgoing Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“If it’s not Kevin, who would you choose?” Well was asked on Monday.
“We’re going to block Kevin,” he replied. “I suspect there will be 10 to 15 Members who will vote against him on the first ballot tomorrow – that will vote for Andy Biggs.”
“But I think you will see that on the second ballot, more and more members are voting for a real candidate who can represent the Conservative Conference. Motivate the base,” Good said.
He didn’t elaborate on who he thought would be the eventual winner.
Only once since the Civil War has the majority of the House of Representatives not elected a Speaker in the first ballot – and the last time was exactly 100 years ago in 1923.
Support for Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s bid appears to be waning in the GOP as 14 lawmakers have publicly said they oppose his candidacy a day before the vote.
Nine current and new Republicans warned in a New Year’s letter that McCarthy’s election would be a “continuation of Republican failure.”
McCarthy has sought to win some favor with those in the party who oppose him by yielding to a demand that he lower the threshold required to remove a House Speaker from his post.
A “request to vacate the chair” has only been made twice in U.S. history. In practice, it is comparable to a “vote of no confidence” where members can request the resignation of the current chair.
The parliamentary procedure was first used in 1910 against Republican Speaker Joseph Cannon and a second time more than 100 years later in 2015 against Republican Speaker Mark Meadows — who later served as former President Donald Trump’s chief of staff.
The five original ‘Never Kevin’ lawmakers who rallied against McCarthy are Representatives from Good, Biggs of Arizona, Matt Gaetz of Florida, Ralph Norman of South Carolina and Matt Rosendale of Montana.
The nine other Republicans who have pledged to vote against McCarthy in the Sunday letter are Reps. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Paul Gosar of Arizona, Chip Roy of Texas, Dan Bishop of North Carolina, Andy Harris of Maryland and Andrew Clyde of Georgia ; along with elected representatives Andy Ogales of Tennessee, Anna Paulina Luna of Florida and Eli Crane of Arizona.
Perry, who chairs the House Freedom Caucus, posted the letter on his Twitter, calling for change and a reshuffle of leadership.
“Nothing changes when nothing changes, and that has to start at the top,” Perry wrote. ‘Time to make the change or get out of the way.’
Good slammed McCarthy for allowing massive collection spending bills to pass through the house before he broke for the holidays.
McCarthy published a New Year’s Eve letter titled “Restoring the People’s House and Ending Business as Usual,” in which he acknowledged the dysfunction of the house and promised to make things right
“There’s nothing to suggest to me that he’s going to change his pattern since he’s at the head of the swamp cartel,” said the Virginia Republican. “He’s the reason on the Republican side that we’re passing massive omnibus spending bills that just got rammed down our throats by Senate Republicans. He was part of that lead.’
The reference to the “swamp cartel” comes from Trump, who dubbed Washington, DC a “swamp” in his 2016 presidential campaign and said he would go to the nation’s capital to “drain the swamp.”
“There is nothing about Kevin McCarthy that suggests he will bring the needed change to Washington or Congress, or he will bring the fight against Biden-Schumer to the agenda and represent the interests of the constituents who sent us to Washington have to bring them to really change us.’
On Sunday, McCarthy held a private conference call with Republicans to gain support for his election as Speaker on Tuesday, January 3, when the new Congress takes office.
“For someone with 14 years in the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives, Mr. McCarthy bears the burden of correcting the dysfunction he is now explicitly acknowledging during this long tenure,” the nine GOP members wrote in their letter.
They added that his “statement comes almost impossibly late to address lingering shortcomings before the opening of the 118th Congress on January 3.”
“In this state, it is not surprising that the vague hopes expressed in far too many of the crucial points still under discussion are inadequate. This is particularly true with regard to Mr. McCarthy’s candidacy for speaker, as times call for a radical departure from the status quo – not a continuation of past and ongoing Republican failures,” the letter said.