In the 2022 midterm elections, there are just two uncalled congressional seats, but even if both favor the Republicans, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy appears to be having a math issue in his bid to become House Speaker. Republicans would hold a 222-213 majority in the next Congress if they maintain their slim leads in both Colorado’s 3rd District and California’s 13th District
. Therefore, McCarthy can only lose four Republican votes in the speaker election on January 3. Five Republican congressmen have already declared that they will not support the California Republican. McCarthy will be defeated if all five members continue to vote against him.
Reps. Matt Gaetz, Andy Biggs, Ralph Norman, Bob Good, and Matt Rosendale are among those five, according to totals from Fox News. The most outspoken opponents of McCarthy to date have been Gaetz and Biggs, though Norman has also declared himself to be a “hard” no. Meanwhile, Good and Rosendale have left it open that they would support McCarthy if he makes big compromises.
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Good spoke about bringing back the “motion to vacate the chair” during an interview with Newsmax, which would enable any member of Congress to ask for a vote to remove the House speaker. Rosendale urged a restoration “to the rules that governed this legislative body before Nancy Pelosi assumed control” in a post on Twitter. The move to resign the chair was one of such regulations.
According to previous reports, McCarthy truly does not want the motion to vacate the chair to be brought back because it would hang like a sword of Damocles over his head the entire time he is in office. No matter who is speaker, they cannot succeed with this weapon constantly pointed at them, according to a Paul Ryan spokeswoman.
McCarthy might have to concede defeat on the motion to resign the chair if he wants to maintain Good and Rosendale’s support. McCarthy’s hand will probably be forced if other Republicans follow Good and Rosendale in refusing to support the legislation in exchange for it. Biggs claimed on Monday that McCarthy has at least 20 “hard no” votes, but this claim might simply be bluster.
Regardless, McCarthy is feeling the pressure from the right flank of his caucus. He has agreed to vote to remove Reps. Adam Schiff, Eric Swalwell, and Ilhan Omar from a number of committees, among other concessions.
He has also threatened to impeach Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas if he does not quit. McCarthy cautioned, “If we play games on the floor, the Democrats can end up choosing who the speaker is,” during an appearance on Newsmax on Monday.
A moderate Republican from Nebraska named Don Bacon told NBC News earlier this month that if the caucus couldn’t muster 218 votes for McCarthy alone, he would think about voting with Democrats for someone else. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a sporadic opponent of McCarthy, is supporting him for speaker and asking her fellow lawmakers to do the same.
Since the speaker does not need to be a sitting member of Congress, Greene specifically cautioned that Democrats and moderate Republicans might propose nominating outgoing Rep. Liz Cheney for speaker.
Some of her coworkers don’t give a damn. Gaetz said: “There are clearly at least five individuals, maybe a lot more than that, who would rather vote for Kevin McCarthy for speaker of the House than have Liz Cheney waterboard them.”