It had been widely presumed by some that former House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) would breeze through the process of being selected by the new Republican majority as the replacement for outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) — but that was not to be.
As it turned out, McCarthy faced strong opposition to his presumptive speakership from members of his own GOP caucus, including nine current or future members who published an open letter that specifically warned against his election to be the next House Speaker, the Daily Wire reported.
Those nine House Republicans included current Reps. Dan Bishop (NC), Andrew Clyde (GA), Andy Harris (MD), Paul Gosar (AZ), Scott Perry (PA), and Chip Roy (TX), as well as Reps.-elect Eli Crane (AZ), Anna Paulina Luna (FL), and Andy Ogles (TN) — who, ironically, can’t officially be sworn in as full members until a speaker is selected.
McCarthy attempts to appease his GOP opponents
The warning letter from those nine House Republicans was published on Sunday in response to an open letter that McCarthy had published on Saturday to try and make the case for why he should be picked to be the next House Speaker.
That New Year’s Eve letter from the former GOP leader, according to Fox News, was titled “Restoring the People’s House and Ending Business as Usual,” and it included an honest admission from McCarthy that the House of Representatives had been deeply dysfunctional for some time but that he had a number of ideas on how to address and correct the situation.
The outlet noted that McCarthy had already reportedly agreed to a number of concessions for various rule changes put forward by some of the House Republicans who opposed his potential speakership, but it would appear that those alleged concessions to his critics were not sufficient to garner their support.
As a longtime senior leader, McCarthy is partially responsible for current dysfunction
The response letter began by noting that the title of McCarthy’s letter, “Restoring the People’s House and Ending Business as Usual,” was a “welcome and telling admission of the longstanding and deep dysfunction of the House of Representatives and statement of aspiration to begin to set it right in the 118th Congress.”
“Regrettably, however, despite some progress achieved, Mr. McCarthy’s statement comes almost impossibly late to address continued deficiencies ahead of the opening of the 118th Congress on January 3rd,” the nine GOP members continued.
They deemed McCarthy’s “expressions of vague hopes” in his letter with regard to “crucial points still under debate” was “insufficient” to quell their concerns, particularly in light of the fact that “the times call for radical departure from the status-quo — not a continuation of past, and ongoing, Republican failures.”
“For someone with a 14-year presence in senior House Republican leadership, Mr. McCarthy bears squarely the burden to correct the dysfunction he now explicitly admits across that long tenure,” the oppositional members observed.
“We will not accept following Nancy Pelosi’s example”
Those nine House Republicans went on to lament how McCarthy’s letter was “missing specific commitments” to nearly all of their proposals, and also appeared to call out their own House GOP colleagues who had rallied around McCarthy and demanded “universal support” for his speakership bid.
They highlighted some of their more critical proposals, such as bill text availability prior to votes, limiting bills to single or related subject matters, or making it easier for members to submit motions to vacate the chair as a means of holding leadership accountable.
“We have from the beginning made clear that we will not accept following Nancy Pelosi’s example by insulating leadership in this way,” the response letter concluded. “We also note that the statement fails completely to address the issue of leadership working to defeat conservatives in open primaries.”
That letter may well have had an impact, as CNN reported Tuesday that the House adjourned without having selected its next Speaker after McCarthy — or anybody else, for that matter — failed to garner the sufficient number of member votes to be elected after three rounds of ballots were cast.