Oh, man, this is really gonna be lit, as Tiger Beat on the Potomac (thanks Charlie!) morning email thingie tells us:
WHAT McCARTHY IS READING — Last night, seven members of the House Freedom Caucus circulated a “Dear Colleague” letter dictating their requirements for any candidate for speaker in yet the latest sign that House GOP Leader KEVIN McCARTHY has some serious negotiating to do before he wins the gavel.
[Ed. This is in addition to the five (5) Republican representatives who have already said that they will not support K-Mac under any circumstances. —TG]
The letter from HFC Chair SCOTT PERRY (R-Pa.), Republican Reps. CHIP ROY (Texas), DAN BISHOP (N.C.), ANDREW CLYDE (Ga.), PAUL GOSAR(Ariz.) and Reps.-Elect ELI CRANE (Ariz.) and ANDY OGLES (Tenn.) makes several demands of any would-be Republican speaker, including that they:
- Reinstate the “motion to vacate” — basically, allowing any member of the House to force a vote to oust the sitting speaker. The letter notes that the rule was “in place for a reason from 1801 to 2018”;
- Provide the House with 72 hours of notice on every bill and grant members the ability to amend legislative text;
- Promise that Republican leadership and associated outside entities (like the McCarthy-aligned Congressional Leader Fund) will not wade into primaries;
- Give conservatives more representation on so-called “A” committees, including the House Rules panel;
- Use must-pass bills to try to secure a number of policy wins,including: (1) leveraging the annual defense authorization to reinstate service members who were dismissed due to their refusal to get the Covid vaccine, (2)forcing any debt ceiling increase to be accompanied by spending cuts, and (3)requiring the farm bill to include cuts to food stamps.
So demand #1 is a culture war item that serves as a MAGA get out of jail card in the military, #2 is to assure that there will be a forced recession if the gubmint cannot stimulate the economy (and don’t kid ourselves, “spending cuts” is the dog whistle for Social Security and Medicare) and #3 is just about cruelty. Also note that cutting food stamps also means cutting farmer subsidy support as they are pretty much always in balance.
As a right-wing faction threatens to tank his speakership ambitions, House GOP leader Kevin McCarthydelivered a promise: “I’ll never leave,” making clear he has no plans to drop out of the race even if the fight goes to many ballots on the floor.
“I’ll get 218,” McCarthy told CNN, referring to the votes he’d need to become House speaker.
But Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona, a conservative hardliner who is challenging McCarthy to be the most powerful member of Congress, doubled down on his commitment to stop the California Republican’s ascension.
“I’m not bluffing,” Biggs told CNN on Thursday when asked if he would drop out.
With the increasing likelihood that the speaker’s race could go to multiple ballots – something that hasn’t happened since 1923 – McCarthy’s allies and foes alike are starting to quietly game out the next steps if he can’t get the necessary 218 votes on the first round and they move into uncharted territory.
The only way K-Mac can get the gavel now is to negotiate with the Democrats. Heh.