Kevin McCarthy wins the GOP Nomination for speaker of the House
Kevin McCarthy GOP Nomination: On Tuesday, House Republicans nominated Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the current minority leader, as their candidate for speaker of the House, defeating a conservative challenger as the party moves closer to regaining control of the lower chamber.
McCarthy was tapped as the nominee in an internal meeting of the Republican conference by a secret-ballot vote of 188 to 31, multiple sources in the meeting confirmed to CBS News. The vote means the California Republican is the favorite to become speaker of a GOP-controlled House, but the path to securing the 218 votes needed to claim the gavel during a vote of the full House in January is likely to be a difficult one since Republicans are poised to hold a razor-thin majority of seats after a weaker-than-expected performance in last week’s midterm elections.
According to CBS News, the GOP will win at least 216 seats and the Democrats will control at least 211. Republican candidates are leading in a number of battleground races where CBS News does not predict a winner.
McCarthy fended off an 11th-hour challenge for the nomination from Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona, a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus who was involved in efforts both within Congress and at the state level to reverse the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. Biggs announced his bid Monday night, telling Newsmax in an interview that “we have a new paradigm here, and I think the country wants a different direction from the House of Representatives.”
Aside from McCarthy, Republicans chose Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana as majority leader by voice vote, and Rep. Elyse Stefanik of New York was re-elected conference chair. Rep. Tom Emmer, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), won a three-way race for a whip, the third highest-ranking position in the House GOP. Emmer’s victory came as a surprise, given that the NRCC’s predicted “red wave” in the midterm elections never materialized under his leadership.
McCarthy officially launched his campaign for House speaker last week, telling his Republican colleagues that he would be a “listener” and strive to “build consensus from the bottom-up rather than commanding the agenda from the top-down.”
McCarthy spent the run-up to the internal election trying to solidify support from the Republican conference’s far-right flank, despite the party’s disappointing performance in the midterm elections, which saw the Senate remain in Democratic hands and control of the House still not secured one week later.
While McCarthy was able to garner enough support from his Republican colleagues to win the nomination, the conference’s tenuous hold on the House gives the conservative faction more clout. His ability to wrangle votes from his fellow Republicans will also be put to the test when it comes to must-pass legislation, such as legislation funding the government and addressing the debt limit, as the United States is expected to reach its borrowing limit in 2023.
Former President Donald Trump, who is expected to launch his third presidential bid on Tuesday night, is also looming over a Republican-controlled House. Following their poor midterm results, some Republicans have attempted to distance themselves from the former president.
If elected, McCarthy has pledged to reopen the United States Capitol Building and to end proxy voting, which Democrats approved during the COVID-19 pandemic to allow absent lawmakers to have another member vote for them. He also promised to delegate bill drafting and markup to House committees and to mobilize resources to allow the House to conduct oversight of the Biden administration.
McCarthy, who was first elected to the House in 2006, has worked his way up the Republican leadership ranks, serving as majority whip and majority leader under former House Speakers John Boehner and Paul Ryan. When Democrats won the House majority in 2019, he became the top Republican in the lower chamber.
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