Last Updated on January 2, 2023
As the pivotal vote for U.S. Speaker of the House approaches, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy finds himself staring at the serious of coming up short in his quest to again become Speaker. A number of Freedom Caucus members — spearheaded by Reps. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Bob Good (R-VA) and Matt Gaetz (R-FL) — have stated that they will not support Kevin McCarthy for Speaker without significant changes to the current Pelosi era House rules. McCarthy’s failure to outline such a plan has added to the mounting pressure against him, with a growing number of U.S. Reps. signaling their disapproval.
U.S. Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC) questioned why McCarthy did not provide his House rules proposal at least 72 hours in advance in a tweet Tuesday, just one day before the crucial vote. Why didn’t we get McCarthy’s proposed rules package at least 72 hours in advance?” Bishop asked.
Among the key demands from anti-McCarthy members is the reinstatement of the motion to vacate the chair, a provision that allows a vote on a new Speaker if just one member objects. The provision was previously done away with by Nancy Pelosi (R-CA), a move critics say renders the Speaker position a rubber stamp vote.
Amidst growing pressure, McCarthy has signaled that he will be willing to reinstate the motion, a move that some analysts have claimed is a testament to his increasing desperation. This is not enough for McCarthy dissenters, however, who have demanded more aggressive House rules reforms, including a ban on the practice of of earmarking.
“Members of the House Freedom Caucus presented Kevin McCarthy with proposed rule changes months before the election,” U.S. Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-MT) wrote in a tweet. “The changes needed in Congress go beyond the Motion to Vacate. Serious reforms are required to restore the House to regular order.
Rosendale went on to state his belief that McCarthy’s minor, last-minute concession is too little, too late. “McCarthy had multiple opportunities to demonstrate leadership abilities and advocate for conservative policies. He had leverage to advance common-sense reforms during the CR, NDAA, & infrastructure legislation. He had early opportunity to address the rules and chose not to do so,” the Montana congressman continued.
“Now, it’s disingenuous and not reliable to believe that his proposed changes would ever be implemented. We need a Republican Speaker who will challenge the status quo and ensure that every member has a voice.”
McCarthy dissenters are confident that a new, Republican speaker will be voted in on Wednesday. U.S. Rep. Bob Good (R-VA) recently told Politico that he is confident McCarthy will face “no” votes from at least 10 members. Five Freedom Caucus members — including Rosendale and Good — have stated that they are firmly in opposition to McCarthy, though Good is confident that there are at least 5-7 more initial “no” votes on the table.
Good went on to predict that McCarthy will see his support evaporate on the second or third ballot, with the Republican caucus coalescing behind a compromise candidate. Steve Scalise (R-LA) has been floated as a name due to his widespread popularity across the party, while Lee Zeldin (R-NY) has also emerged as a candidate.