Kevin McCarthy eyes speaker position as Republican-held U.S. House opens – National

The new Republican-held U.S. House of Representatives convenes on Tuesday for what could be a chaotic election for the president, as top Republican Kevin McCarthy battles to overcome opposition from hardline conservatives and gain the upper hand.

A protracted election for the president could undermine House Republicans’ hopes of moving quickly on investigations into Democratic President Joe Biden’s administration and his family, as well as legislative priorities around the economy, energy independence of United States and border security.

After four years as Republican Minority Leader, McCarthy now needs at least 218 votes to succeed Democrat Nancy Pelosi for president. With 222 seats, Republicans have a narrow majority of nine seats in the House, but several party members oppose him.

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As of Sunday night, Republican lawmakers who were willing to vote against McCarthy were in double digits, according to a source familiar with the matter.

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No Democrats are likely to vote for McCarthy, so he doesn’t yet appear to have enough votes to land the job that would set him the House’s legislative agenda and put him in second for the presidency, behind the Democratic vice president. Kamala Harris.

That could pave the way for hours of votes when the 118th Congress begins meeting at noon EST (1700 GMT). McCarthy easily won his party’s support for the presidency in November.

When asked Monday if he got the votes, McCarthy, who failed to win the presidency in 2015, told reporters on Capitol Hill, “I think we’re going to have a good day tomorrow.”


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The California Republican met with hardliners and supporters Monday night, but there was no immediate sign of a breakthrough. House Republicans are expected to meet face to face behind closed doors on Tuesday morning, before the presidents are elected.

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Representative Don Bacon, a McCarthy supporter, wrote on the conservative online news website Daily Caller that he could reach across the aisle to find Democratic support for an unnamed Republican candidate if the extremists did not give in.

While Republicans won back the House, Democrats still hold the White House and the Senate. Deadlocks are expected on much-needed legislation to keep government open, fund the military and tackle the US debt ceiling.

McCarthy is facing a longtime rival bid from Conservative Tory Representative Andy Biggs. Alongside Biggs, Republican Representatives Matt Gaetz, Bob Good, Matt Rosendale, and Ralph Norman oppose his election as president.

“I will not be voting for Kevin McCarthy tomorrow. He is part of the problem. He’s not part of the solution,” Good told Fox News on Monday.

The record number of ballots to elect a Speaker of the House is 133 over a two-month period in the 1850s. Every candidate in the past 100 years has passed on the first ballot.

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A deadlock would leave the House largely paralyzed and could force lawmakers to consider another candidate. New Majority Leader Steve Scalise and Conservative Leader Jim Jordan are seen as possibilities.

But 15 House Republicans — elected from districts Biden won in 2020 — have warned they won’t accept anyone but McCarthy as president.

Strategists from both parties warn bigger problems could arise for Congress if House Republicans are too divided to negotiate with Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

“If Republicans stick together, Democrats in the Senate will have to focus on a much more conservative product than they’re used to to get anything through,” said Republican strategist Josh Holmes, a former aide to McConnell. .

Democratic strategist Jim Manley said if Biden and Schumer didn’t have a House Republican to negotiate with, then very little would be done, adding, “It takes two to tango.”

The radical Republican House Freedom Caucus is demanding rule changes that would strengthen the group’s influence. Moderate Republicans have said they will only agree to rule changes if it leads to McCarthy being elected president.

But some of McCarthy’s opponents, including Biggs and Gaetz, suggested they would not support him under any circumstances.

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Democrats picked Hakeem Jeffries to lead the minority after Pelosi, the first woman to serve as president, resigned from the leadership. She will remain in office as a representative.

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