McCarthy Offers Concessions to Holdout Republicans in Bid to Secure Speakership

U.S. House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) talks with reporters after a House Republican caucus meeting on the first day of the 118th Congress at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., January 3, 2023. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
January 5, 2023

After failing to receive enough votes to secure the House speakership, Republican Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) on Wednesday offered a slate of concessions to 20 party members who have stonewalled his bid.

Among the list of compromises, McCarthy agreed to lower the number of votes necessary to trigger a ballot to remove a speaker and give more positions to Freedom Caucus members on the House Rules Committee. The California Republican also promised to schedule votes on border security and term limits, legislative priorities for some of the holdout Republicans.

The concession comes as House Republicans express frustration over the chaotic speakership vote, arguing that it has stalled the GOP's ability to hold the Biden administration to account.

"If we had elected Kevin McCarthy speaker we would have already voted to defund the 87,000 new IRS agents, new border security measures, and a select committee on China," Rep. Michael Waltz (R., Fla.) on Wednesday told the Washington Free Beacon.

"We would also be sending notices to the Biden administration that we’re coming for answers on the FBI, Department of Justice, the Afghanistan withdrawal, and conflicts of interest surrounding the Biden family," the congressman added.

Opening seats on the Rules Committee gives McCarthy's Republican opponents a powerful position, the New York Times reported:

The Republican leader had also committed to allowing the right-wing faction to handpick a third of the party’s members on the powerful Rules Committee, which controls what legislation reaches the floor and in what form, according to one of the people, who has been involved in the talks, as well as to opening spending bills to a freewheeling debate in which any lawmaker could propose changes, including those designed to scuttle or sink the measure.

McCarthy received 201 votes in the sixth round Wednesday. Republican Victoria Spartz (R., Ind.) voted present in the latest two ballots, which put the threshold at 217 votes to secure the speakership.

 Members are expected to reconvene at noon on Thursday.