FISM News, Samuel Case
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) warned his Republican colleagues on Monday against opposing his bid for House speaker, saying that the choice could fall to Democrats if the GOP decides to “play games” with the vote.
“We have to speak as one voice. We will only be successful if we work together, or we’ll lose individually. This is very fragile — that we are the only stopgap for this Biden administration,” McCarthy told Newsmax.
“And if we don’t do this right, the Democrats can take the majority. If we play games on the floor, the Democrats can end up picking who the speaker is,” he said.
McCarthy has already secured the Republican nomination for Speaker of the House, but still does not have enough votes to take up the role.
In a nomination meeting, McCarthy received 188 yes votes compared to 31 no votes, overcoming a challenge from Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) Biggs has said he will not support McCarthy’s effort to take up the speakership.
“I cannot vote for Kevin McCarthy as House Speaker,” Biggs tweeted. “I do not believe he will ever get to 218 votes, and I refuse to assist him in his effort to get those votes.
In addition to Biggs, at least four other conservative hardliners have publicly stated they will not be voting for McCarthy on the floor, including Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Bob Good (R-Va.), and Ralph Norman (R-S.C.).
Biggs pushed back against McCarthy’s suggestion that the position could fall to Democrats if GOP members oppose McCarthy, calling it “fear-mongering.” He suggested that McCarthy needs to step aside and “give us somebody who will fight” for Republican interests.
Kevin McCarthy doesn't have the votes to become our next House Speaker.
In no way does this mean a Democrat will be elected Speaker.
That's fear-mongering by the Establishment.
Our next Speaker will be a Republican who will actually fight for Americans. pic.twitter.com/k0pdedRShi
— Rep Andy Biggs (@RepAndyBiggsAZ) November 29, 2022
A would-be speaker needs 218 votes to secure the position, and with Republicans holding a slimmer majority than anticipated, just 222 seats, McCarthy has little room for dissent within the caucus.
“You have to listen to everybody in the conference, because five people on any side can stop anything when you’re in the majority,” McCarthy said.
Still, the minority leader believes in the end “calmer heads will prevail,” and he will be elected as Speaker, noting previous Republican speaker Paul Ryan saw a number of “no” votes flip once the official vote was made on the House floor.