Kevin McCarthy news: McCarthy moves into official House speaker suite despite still scrambling for GOP votes

Kevin McCarthy  (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
Kevin McCarthy (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Republican House speaker hopeful Kevin McCarthy is facing considerable resistance from his own party ahead of the new Congress, which convenes on Tuesday 3 January.

On Sunday, nine conservative Republican lawmakers penned a letter crticising Mr McCarthy’s bid for House speaker.

The letter came two days before the new Congress begins. Republicans won the majority in the House of Representatives in November, but only by a narrow margin. Republicans will only have 222 seats, which is only four more than the required 218 majority Mr McCarthy has needed.

“The times call for radical departure from the status quo — not a continuation of past and ongoing Republican failures,” the letter to Mr McCarthy said. “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.”

McCarthy promises Covid origins investigation

18:30 , John Bowden

Kevin McCarthy tweeted last week that he would allow the GOP to pursue an investigation into the origins of Covid-19 once the GOP takes control of the House of Representatives.

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Many members of his party have spread false information or even outright conspiracy theories about the virus in the three years since it arrived on US shores.

McCarthy still running on promise to ‘repeal’ legislation staffing up IRS

18:00 , John Bowden

Kevin McCarthy is continuing to campaign for speaker on the issue of “repealing” legislation that is set to fund the IRS and allow for the hiring of new staff. He retweeted an article in which he vowed to do so after sending his New Year’s message on Sunday.

A favourite punching bag of conservatives, the IRS was earmarked $80bn in funding over the next decade for operations as part of the Inflation Reduction Act. Joe Biden signed that bill into law last year.

Mr McCarthy persistence on the issue is a sign of his reliance of GOP voters not understanding that the legislation to repeal the Inflation Reduction Act will never pass the Democratic-controlled Senate, which will remain in the hands of the president’s party for at least the next two years.

“The embarrassment indeed may be the point."

17:45 , John Bowden

Brendan Buck argues in The New York Times that the goal of GOP rebels in the House may not be to unseat Kevin McCarthy as GOP leader and deny him the speakership.

The goal instead may be to publicly weaken him politically, maximising the power that conservatives and Trump acolytes will have in the House for the next two years.

Read more from this former Paul Ryan aide in the Times:

Ralph Norman says he will vote for Biggs

17:25 , John Bowden

A GOP congressman who is part of a group threatening to vote against Kevin McCarthy in his bid for speaker on Tuesday says he’s still opposed to the California Republican’s leadership.

Congressman Ralph Norman made the comments Monday morning on Fox News, telling the network that he would vote instead for Rep Andy Biggs of Arizona.

McCarthy’s biggest question: The fence-sitters

17:10 , John Bowden

Kevin McCarthy needs 218 votes to become speaker of the House.

The biggest question heading into tomorrow’s election remains whether he has done enough to placate the conservatives in his party — or whether he will be the first party leader in 100 years to fail to secure victory on the first ballot.

According to CBS News, “about two dozen members “ of the GOP conference are remaining publicly silent about how they will vote. That’s far more than would be necessary to tank Mr McCarthy’s bid. Several Republicans have already come out against him as well.

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ICYMI: McCarthy promised ‘accountability’ in New Year’s message

16:42 , John Bowden

Kevin McCarthy has yet to secure victory in his bid to control the House GOP conference as speaker in tomorrow’s elections.

But he’s already making promises for the new year, including bringing “accountability” to Washington.

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Axios casts doubt on McCarthy’s chances

16:15 , John Bowden

Axios’s morning newsletter characterised allies of Kevin McCarthy as “optimistic” heading into Tuesday’s election for speaker, but reported that none could spell out a precise path to victory for the California Republican.

According to the news outlet, “even close allies privately say it's ’hard to see a path’ to the 218 votes McCarthy needs when the new Congress opens tomorrow”.

GOP sources: Don’t expect Kevin McCarthy to fight it out on the floor

16:05 , John Bowden

Critics o

f GOP leader Kevin McCarthy are advising against the public spectacle that would inevitably follow a battle on the House floor for control of the speaker’s gavel as it becomes clearer and clearer that he has not yet secured the votes to lead the chamber come Tueday.

Robert Costa reported the state of the race in a Twitter thread Monday morning. The views of Mr McCarthy’s critics are important given that he will be attempting to win them over should voting go to a second round in tomorrow’s election for speaker.

Former Paul Ryan aide trashes Kevin McCarthy’s bid for speaker

15:45 , John Bowden

An op-ed in The New York Times from Brendan Buck, a veteran GOP operative on Capitol Hill who worked for ex-Speaker Paul Ryan, is making the rounds today.

Mr Buck and Mr Ryan’s wing of the GOP in general is thought to be disgusted with how Mr McCarthy has sought to placate conservatives and Trump acolytes as GOP minority leader; Mr Ryan publicly supported the second impeachment of Donald Trump.

Read more in the Times:

Nine House Republicans pen scathing letter railing against Kevin McCarthy’s speaker bid

15:04 , Eric Garcia

Nine House Republicans sent a letter criticising House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s bid to become House speaker despite his overtures.

Republican Representatives Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Chip Roy of Texas and seven others wrote that Mr McCarthy’s responses to their demands were “insufficient.”

Read more:

Nine House Republicans pen scathing letter railing against McCarthy’s speaker bid