Tuesday 3 January 2023

Kevin McCarthy Moves Into Speaker’s Suite With Bid For Gavel Uncertain

 Although the race for House speaker remains unsettled, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is already moving into the speaker’s suite.

Sharing a video of a man carting a stack of blue containers in what appeared to be the U.S. Capitol, NBC News’ Haley Talbot reported McCarthy “has moved into” the suite of offices and will have to move all his stuff back out if he loses the vote Tuesday. In fact, boxes from McCarthy’s office were spotted being transported to the speaker’s suite as early as last week, per CNN.

The flurry of activity kicks off the new year in which Republicans take control of the House by a small margin. McCarthy did not get into specifics but did flash confidence when pressed by reporters on Monday.

“I think we will have a good day tomorrow,” McCarthy said.

McCarthy is well positioned to be picked by his peers to replace Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) as House Speaker, and Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said McCarthy appears to be “on track” to winning in a Sunday interview.

But there are a handful of GOP holdouts who threaten McCarthy’s bid. Over the past few days, McCarthy offered concessions to woo conservatives, including making it easier to remove the sitting speaker of the House. Despite his overtures, nine House Republicans signed a letter opposing McCarthy’s bid saying “specific commitments” remain missing.

While Republicans have a 222-seat majority in this new session of Congress, McCarthy needs only 218 votes to win the speaker’s gavel. The threshold to secure a majority would decrease if members vote “present,” decline to vote, or are absent.

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), a former chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, has presented himself as an alternative candidate to McCarthy. Roll Call reports there is a longshot backup plan for a group of Republicans to work with Democrats to nominate retiring Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) for speaker if there are multiple ballots.

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