After 12 rounds of voting and literally thousands of votes, when the House of Representatives reconvened on Friday morning to choose the Speaker, something happened for the first time.
Kevin McCarthy voted.
Not only that, but McCarthy overturned 14 votes – two-thirds of the 21 who originally voted against him.
Most Recommended for Speaker Hope? The group includes Representative Ralph Norman (R-SC), who was previously a member of the “Never Kevin” faction, as well as Representative Scott Perry (R-PA), one of the most vocal.
Still, that wasn’t enough to finally give McCarthy the Speaker’s hammer. Seven Republicans still voted against him in the 12th round, including lawmakers who were supposed to never vote for him, such as Representatives Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Lauren Boebert (R-CO).
The GOP leader will only win — and the House’s tortured purgatory end only — if he gets all but four Republicans to vote for him. It’s far from certain: with only the most staunch opposition left, McCarthy may find it harder to overturn the last three votes than the first 14.
But Friday’s jailbreak provided the boost McCarthy desperately needed after four days of stalemate that threatened to derail his speaker ambitions.
It was the product of acrimonious negotiations between McCarthy, his allies, and the resistance, which ran from Wednesday to Friday morning. The specifics of any compromise remain unclear – except for the fact that hardline conservatives believe it would be in their considerable favor.
“We’re at a turning point,” Perry tweeted after his vote. “I have negotiated in good faith, with one purpose: to restore People’s House to its rightful owners. The framework for a deal is in place, so in a good faith effort I voted to reinstate the House of Peoples by voting for [McCarthy].”
Based on statements from lawmakers and news reports, it is likely that McCarthy has agreed to cede a significant amount of power, in addition to promising support for cuts in defense spending.
As part of any compromise, McCarthy will likely place his detractors – those who just dragged him through the worst leadership vote since the Civil War – in influential positions. to the most important committees.
McCarthy may not have bought himself a Friday Speaker job, but he did buy himself time.
With their opposition currently limited to more than half a dozen legislators, the GOP leadership clearly believes they can exert enormous pressure on such a small group and secure at least some of the votes cast. surname.
The strength on the floor was palpable Friday as Republicans supporting McCarthy stood up to clap after each vote. Many of McCarthy’s detractors described their votes as a show of “goodwill”—a sort of side message to McCarthy’s view that rule changes could move this group of members. , but nothing is guaranteed until it ends.
McCarthy clapped along, eventually shaking hands with several as he once again gathered with his closest allies, such as Representative Dusty Johnson (R-SD), among others. Some of the Never Kevins continued to chat in the back of the room, although there weren’t as many crowds as they’d seen in previous days.
However, the Never Kevin faction is still happy with their constant chaos. Representative Matt Rosendale (R-MT), for example, while voting, shouted that he was voting for “Kevin,” before pausing for a long time to vote for “Kevin Hern,” who which Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) nominated again.
It’s unclear when Republicans will proceed with the inevitable vote on the 13th, but members on both sides of the aisle have been warned about the possibility of a vote later in the week. And the absence could have consequences: Representative Wesley Hunt (R-TX) went home to his wife and newborn four days ago. Representative Ken Buck (R-CO) was not present for roll call for the 12th vote after being absent Thursday for medical procedures, but is believed to have returned to Washington on Friday.