RINOs, or “Republicans In Name Only,” are holding a threat over Congress to elect one of their own or even a Democrat if GOP representatives do not line up to support Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) for the gavel.
With Republicans holding only a narrow majority in the House come January, McCarthy needs virtually everyone on board to secure the Speaker’s position.
One GOP representative, Don Bacon (R-NE), recently told NBC News that he is “willing to work with Dems to elect a moderate Speaker” if the push for McCarthy fails.
At least one other representative, Freedom Caucus member Andy Biggs (R-AZ), has launched a bid to oppose McCarthy. Others have clearly declared their opposition to the California Republican, and Biggs said there are at least 20 GOP representatives solidly opposed.
In a closed-door ballot, the longtime establishment leader garnered only 188 of the necessary 218 votes needed to propel him to the House’s top position.
Kevin McCarthy doesn't have the votes to be Speaker.
We need to turn the page.
We need to get away from the corrupt system that puts the lobbyists and special interests in charge.
We need a fighting Republican Majority. It's one I don't think Kevin McCarthy can lead. pic.twitter.com/NHUrylpFTN
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) November 19, 2022
What has followed is a barrage of media releases and statements asserting that if McCarthy does not prevail, Republicans can expect something far worse in 2023. Many are concerned about his pledge to follow rules enacted by outgoing Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) if chosen.
In a twist, the U.S. Constitution does not require that the Speaker of the House be a member of Congress. This led to some RINOs floating outgoing Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) as a candidate for the job.
Meanwhile, McCarthy has been busy cutting deals with colleagues to try to reach the 218-vote threshold. He garnered the support of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) by promising to restore her committee assignments, which were stripped by Democrats.
He pledged to remove Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and others from their assignments, falling in line with previous Democratic actions against Greene and others.
McCarthy also recently threatened Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas with impeachment over the border crisis unless he resigns.
Further, he committed to removing metal detectors put in place to prevent firearms from the House floor and to completely reopen the Capitol building’s visitor access. This has been limited since the Jan. 6 incident.
There is no way to know if or how McCarthy will be able to gain enough Republican votes to be the next Speaker. But it is extremely important that the party converge around a leader who will stand up to the Biden administration and hold on to GOP principles.