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Kevin McCarthy prepares to take the Speakership battle into day four

Kevin McCarthy prepares to take the Speakership battle into day four

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Republican Kevin McCarthy’s bid to become speaker of the US House of Representatives dragged on for a fourth day on Friday, as the California congressman struggled to secure the support of an adamant group of 20 rebels within his own party.

McCarthy has offered several rounds of concessions to his critics, including rule changes that would make it easier to call for a vote of no confidence in a future speaker and promises of prune committee assignments for members of the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus.

But those efforts seemed to fall on deaf ears as the 20 lawmakers continued to vote against him, stripping him of the simple majority needed to become Speaker.

When the House of Representatives approved an adjournment late Thursday, McCarthy had not been elected speaker 11 times. The last time it took more than one ballot to elect a Speaker was in 1923, when it took nine ballots.

The House of Representatives was scheduled to resume voting on Friday noon. As of Friday morning, it remained unclear whether McCarthy and his allies would be able to improve their numbers or if the standoff would continue through the weekend. The House of Representatives is constitutionally required to select a Speaker and cannot move on to legislative matters until someone is presented with the gavel.

Bob Good, a Virginia Republican who was among the dissidents, said he will again vote against McCarthy for speaker on Friday and support him “at no point” — a sign that the Republican leader’s most ardent opponents remain unmoved.

“The whole reality is that he doesn’t have a 218, he won’t have a 218, and the sooner he embraces that reality, the sooner we can move forward as a conference and start debating, reviewing and evaluating. . .[alternative]candidates,” he said.

Good said that he would like to see Ohio Republican Jim Jordan as speaker, but suggested that other members suggest Steve Scalise, the Louisiana Republican and a member of the Republican leadership of the House of Representatives, as a possible nominee. “There are members who support him, I think they should propose his name, nominate him and vote for him.”

Good said while McCarthy has made major concessions in recent days, there remains a significant lack of “confidence” in his willingness to follow through. “He doesn’t believe in any of the things he agrees to, so he would only do them under duress because he’s desperate.”

The infighting between Republicans has exposed long-simmering tensions in a party grappling with how to proceed after a relatively disappointing performance in last November’s midterm elections.

McCarthy is in a difficult position in part because the “red wave” he and others predicted has not materialized and Republicans now control the House by a razor-thin margin.

The deadlock in the House of Representatives has also raised questions about how Congress will function over the next two years and whether McCarthy or any other speaker will be able to get the quarreling factions of the Republican Party to pass legislation.

One looming threat is the possibility of a debt ceiling crisis later this year. Economists have forecast that the US economy could default in the third quarter unless lawmakers agree to raise the federal debt ceiling.

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