California Republican Kevin McCarthy continued his losing streak Friday in his bid to serve as Speaker of the House for the Republican majority.
McCarthy has lost a dozen votes across several days this week as a small group of conservative Republicans remain steadfast in opposing him.
Friday afternoon, the House met to vote again. In the 12th vote, McCarthy did not get the needed 218 votes, but he did gather support from more Republicans than in previous votes, a sign he could finally be getting the momentum needed to win the position.
McCarthy can only afford to lose four Republican votes and still win the position if all the lawmakers are there and vote for a candidate, but about 20 have continued to vote against him and for a challenger until the 12th vote Friday, when several holdouts flipped over to McCarthy. However, seven Republicans still voted against him on the 12th ballot, sending the House to a 13th vote.
Those Republicans receiving votes other than McCarthy have varied and included Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla.
The holdouts have reportedly been negotiating with McCarthy and others behind the scenes with some progress.
“In his 14 years in Republican leadership, McCarthy has repeatedly failed to demonstrate any desire to meaningfully change the status quo in Washington,” U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, R-Penn., said earlier this week.
Perry changed his tune on Friday, though, saying he would vote for McCarthy.
“We’re at a turning point. I’ve negotiated in good faith, with one purpose: to restore the People’s House back to its rightful owners,” he wrote on Twitter Friday. “The framework for an agreement is in place, so in a good-faith effort, I voted to restore the People’s House by voting for @gopleader McCarthy.”
As The Center Square previously reported, Perry said earlier this week that he and other conservative members in the House laid out conditions for McCarthy ahead of the votes but that he “balked” when faced with them. Those conditions included a promise to vote on a balanced budget, the “Texas Border Plan,” term limits for members of Congress, and the Fair Tax Act, which would create a national sales tax on certain services and property to replace the current income tax, payroll taxes, and estate and gift taxes.
“We requested transparent, accountable votes on individual earmarks that would require two-thirds support to pass, and to ensure that all amendments to cut spending would be allowed floor consideration,” Perry said at the time. “He dismissed it.”
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., has voted for former President Donald Trump to be Speaker of the House. Though the speaker does not have to be a lawmaker, it would be highly unusual for Trump to fill the spot.
Gaetz also re-upped his criticism of McCarthy for preemptively moving into the speaker’s office before being elected to the position. Gaetz sent a letter to the Architect of the Capitol earlier this week saying “no member can lay claim to this office.”
“My question remains unanswered: why is Kevin McCarthy squatting in the Speaker’s office?” Gaetz wrote on Twitter Friday. “After 3 days of voting and 11 failed ballots, no member can lay claim to this office. I’m once again demanding answers from the Architect of the Capitol.”
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Reposted with permission