McCarthy, opponents are closing in on a deal to end the speakership battle

McCarthy, opponents are closing in on a deal to end the speakership battle

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Rep. Kevin McCarthy and some of his GOP critics appeared close Thursday on a deal that would bring him closer to speaking power, even as his most vocal critics vowed that granting him the gavel wouldn’t be enough.

The two sides worked furiously behind closed doors to reach an agreement even as McCarthy lost five more votes for speakership, with the same group of opponents voting against him. It made 11 straight electoral losses for McCarthy.

“It’s changes that we wanted,” said Rep. Ralph Norman (RS.C.), one of the 20 Republicans who consistently vote against McCarthy, of the offers from the McCarthy camp.

“Now we have much more to achieve,” he warned. “But this round is on paper, which is good.”

McCarthy allies also expressed optimism, saying they believed progress was being made.

But they had not been able to show any progress on the ground, despite the growing number of concessions. And it was unclear if a deal would get McCarthy over the hill.

When asked Wednesday night if there was anything McCarthy could do to win their support, Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) said, “No.”

Responding to the same question Thursday, Rep. Elect Eli Crane (R-Ariz.) said, “I don’t think so.” Rep. Andy Ogles (R-Tenn.) said, “Well, look.”

Representatives Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) and Bob Good (R-Va.) appear to be similarly entrenched in their opposition.

“You never have to ask me if I’m a no again.” Good told reporter on Thursday. “I will never vote for Kevin McCarthy.”

The House voted for an adjournment until noon on Friday just after 8 p.m. – which marked some progress for McCarthy. He had pushed for an adjournment, and Republicans supported and opposed him.

Many of McCarthy’s most adamant GOP critics didn’t even seem involved in Thursday’s negotiations, and it was far from clear that he would win 16 Republicans.

Thursday’s spectacle marked an ignominious milestone: The 10th speaker’s ballot surpassed the nine ballots required to install a speaker of the House of Representatives in 1923, making this year’s process the longest since the Civil War. And there is no clear end in sight.

Thursday’s marathon talks were held in the Capitol Office of the new House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-Minn.).

Chief negotiators included Reps. Patrick McHenry (RN.C.), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) and Emmer, all key McCarthy defense attorneys, with Reps. Chip Roy (R-Texas), Scott Perry (R-Pa. ), Dan Bishop (RN.C.) and Byron Donalds (R-Fla.).

McHenry was one of those who signaled optimism.

“We’ve got the right contours to give Kevin McCarthy the majority of the vote and those are assurances of the structure of how we’re going to interact with each other, how we’re going to enable sound public policy, and the type of public policy that’s going to happen at this one.” Congress will be the focus,” he said.

“Those are the kind of assurances that all majorities have to make at some point. I wish we’d done them before, but we’re doing them now,” McHenry said. “We’ve had some members holding out hoping to bring more conservative policies to the table and I think we can pull that off. These are the most hopeful conversations we’ve had in weeks.”

Concessions offered included lowering the threshold for a motion to remove the Speaker of the House to just one member and increasing the number of Conservatives on key committees.

Norman said the concessions offered by McCarthy include guaranteed voting to set term limits for all House legislators; an open change process that gives ordinary legislators more power to change laws; Passing the so-called Holman Rule, giving Congress new powers over federal agencies; and a 72-hour rule — which requires lawmakers three full days to read bills before they hit the floor.

Yet even as these talks took place, some of McCarthy’s critics seemed further removed from him.

Gaetz angered McCarthy on Wednesday for allegedly requesting a list of desired committee assignments from the group of critics and then using it to present it as a personal favor negotiation.

Perhaps no one in McCarthy’s camp thinks Gaetz is a voice to get. Still, it was noteworthy that he, Boebert, Biggs and Good were absent from much of the lengthy talks in Emmer’s office on Thursday. Her absence appeared to give negotiators more leeway to reach an agreement.

“We have the right people in the room talking, and that’s a very healthy ingredient,” McHenry said.

The concessions themselves are a risk for McCarthy, though most of the Republicans who support him seem willing to swallow those changes to end the speakers’ stalemate.

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), the new chair of the House Armed Services Committee, has blasted the proposal to offer committee seats for speaker votes.

“It’s crazy that they came up with that, that they wanted to get committee assignments and committee chairs without having to go through the steering committee, like Kevin McCarthy or some spokesperson could magically tell the members,” he said. “‘Oh, by the way, I’m giving your seat to someone else who made the conference difficult.’ It just shows how crazy they are.”

Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) and other members have previously signaled they would not accept a lowering of the threshold for the vacancy petition, but appear willing to relent if it secures speakership for McCarthy.

“I reject the vacancy rules, but would I vote no on the speakership because of that? I’d say no, I’d rather not,” Bacon said Thursday.

Some of McCarthy’s supporters were less optimistic about his chances.

“I think the number that will never vote for Kevin McCarthy is more than four,” said Rep. Warren Davidson (R-Ohio) said on CNN Thursday morning. That would keep McCarthy off the gavel.

Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.), who previously said McCarthy should step down and make way for House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) if he can’t make a deal, also expressed doubts about that McCarthy moves enough to recruit members.

“There’s still some holdouts and I think the 20 have some kind of blood oath that they’re all going to move together or none of them will move,” Buck said on CNN.

He later said that members, including himself, would start looking for another candidate if McCarthy cannot reach an agreement, and that he will “lose credibility” if an agreement is not reached.

Critics threw a new name into the mix of speakers Thursday over nominations: Rep. Kevin Hern (R-Olka.), the new chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, the largest conservative faction in the House of Representatives.

Federal judge rules West Virginia law restricting transgender athletes is constitutional. The Idaho Supreme Court upholds state laws restricting abortion

And although Mr. McCarthy has supported every election, he has not dismissed the idea of ​​being a compromise candidate for Speaker.

“I’m happy as chairman of the RSC and we’re already doing a lot there,” Mr told Local Oklahoma outlet, The Frontier, earlier Thursday. “When I hear my name, I have to think about it and pray before I decide if it’s a job I’m going to run for.”

Al Weaver, Mychael Schell, Aris Folley and Rebecca Beitsch contributed.

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