House Republicans Prepare To Elect New Leadership—Here’s What A GOP-Controlled Congress Would Do


Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.) said he will not vote for Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) for speaker of the House next year, becoming at least the fourth member to declare firm opposition to McCarthy’s leadership bid as McCarthy faces an increasingly tough battle to recruit votes with a slim GOP majority in the House next year.

Key Facts

Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.) said Tuesday he will vote for “an alternative candidate,” he told Axios, after previously expressing doubts about McCarthy.

Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.) said earlier this month he decided not to vote for McCarthy after he disagreed with the Republican Study Committee’s plans for curbing the national debt, which includes raising the minimum retirement age and allowing Medicare recipients to receive subsidies they can use to buy private insurance, Norman told Politico.

In addition to Norman, Good joins Republican Rep. Andy Biggs (Ariz.), who is running against McCarthy for the speakership, and Rep. Matt Gaetz (Fla.) in pledging to vote against McCarthy, while Rep. Matt Rosendale has publicly doubted McCarthy’s ability to lead the Republican conference and Rep. Dan Bishop (R-N.C.) has said he is undecided on who he’ll vote for.

Rep. Chip Roy (R-Tx.), who joined Norman in nominating Biggs to challenge McCarthy, has also expressed skepticism about McCarthy’s ability to secure the 218 votes needed to win the speakership.

Key Background

McCarthy has worked his way up the ranks of the Republican conference throughout his 16 years in office and has been eyeing the speakership since at least 2015, when he abruptly dropped out of the race, fearing a lack of support among far-right members. This time around, McCarthy’s speaker bid has been threatened by the GOP’s underperformance in the midterm election. Republicans are expected to hold 222 seats once the remaining two midterm races are finalized. The slim majority created an opening for Biggs to wage a last-minute challenge against McCarthy and a platform for the House Freedom Caucus to elevate its demands in exchange for votes. But McCarthy has remained committed to his leadership bid and said Tuesday following a contentious meeting with Republican caucus members he is is confident he’ll get to 218 votes.

Crucial Quote

“Do you think we would be having this discussion if we’ve had a 30 seat margin? No,” Norman told Politico, referring to the midterm outcome’s effect on McCarthy’s speakership bid.

Big Number

188. That’s the number of votes McCarthy secured to be nominated for speaker on November 15, but he’ll need 30 more to officially win the contest on January 3.

What To Watch For

What the Freedom Caucus will demand from McCarthy in exchange for votes. Already, he has agreed to some rules changes, including appointing more regional representatives to the steering committee, which dilutes the voting power of committee leaders. Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) also introduced a proposal this week to appoint committee chairs by majority vote of the Republican conference. Committee chairs are currently selected by the steering committee. The Freedom Caucus also wants to allow any member to initiate proceedings to remove the speaker via a “motion to vacate.” The conference shot down that rule in a meeting on November 16, but nothing is finalized until the next Congress takes over in January, and Republicans are expected to discuss additional rules changes after Congress returns from Thanksgiving recess.

Surprising Fact

House Freedom Caucus member Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), who has seen her standing in the Republican conference rise in recent months, voted in favor of McCarthy for speaker. She has cozied up to him as part of an effort to be reinstated to committees. The House voted last year to remove her from all committees following a string of controversial comments that promoted antisemitism and QAnon conspiracy theories. She’s expected to secure a spot next year on the powerful Oversight Committee.

Further Reading

Kevin McCarthy Fends Off Challenge For House Speaker Nomination—But Still Doesn’t Have The Votes To Win (Forbes)

House Republicans Prepare To Elect New Leadership—Here’s What A GOP-Controlled Congress Would Do (Forbes)

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