Kevin McCarthy Prepares For “Battle On The Floor” As GOP Divisions Threaten To Scuttle His Bid For House Speaker

Much of the political media is fixated on the House of Representatives on Tuesday, where Republican divisions threaten to prevent Kevin McCarthy’s long desire to serve as speaker — and may stall any business at all in the lower chamber of commerce.

After a contentious meeting of the House GOP caucus, McCarthy acknowledged to reporters that “we may have a battle on the floor but the battle is for the conference and the country, and that is fine with me.”

His remarks came after members of the ultra-conservative Freedom Caucus expressed their opposition to McCarthy even after he made extensive concessions, including lowering the threshold required to call a vote to replace him at any time.

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Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), who has been a key ally to McCarthy in lining up support on the right, said that she was “furious” at the holdouts. In extended remarks to reporters, she called out individual members as hypocrites or working in their own self interest.

One apparent holdout, Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) complained to reporters after the caucus meeting that they were “being sworn at instead of being sworn in,” while there appeared to be little movement toward McCarthy among those who have long expressed their opposition. CNN’s Manu Raju reported on air that Boebert used the expletive “Bulls—” as her response to McCarthy’s speech to members, urging them to vote for him.

The vote stands to produce a rare moment of genuine suspense on Capitol Hill where the outcome of a vote is uncertain and unclear, particularly if McCarthy fails to secure a majority. Then, the House would have to go to another ballot until he, or anyone else, is able to do so. Members must announce their vote as the roll call is read.

The vote is critical to getting the House to conduct any business, as members of the 118th Congress cannot be sworn in until a speaker is selected. McCarthy needs a majority of the members voting to secure the speakership, something that has been in doubt because his party will hold just a slim 222-212 majority when Congress convenes.

Shortly before noon ET, outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in fuchsia suit, drew extended cheers from Democrats, and applause from even Republicans, as she gaveled out the previous Congress. It marked the end of 20 years in congressional leadership. As the new Congress convened, one Democratic member could be heard, saying loudly, “Let the show begin.” That reflected the contrast between Pelosi’s tenure, in which she exercised great discipline over the party caucus, and that of the incoming GOP majority, with significant fissures over their leadership direction.

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Kevin McCarthy Prepares For “Battle On The Floor” In Bid For House Speaker

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