Last Updated on November 15, 2022
The Republican establishment has strengthened its influence over the Donald Trump-supporting wing of the party and the House Freedom Caucus.
House Republicans voted in support of Rep. Kevin McCarthy to be the next speaker of the House should Republicans take a majority.
McCarthy was challenged by the America First, Trump-supporting Rep. Andy Biggs (Ariz.) but McCarthy possessed overwhelming support from anti-Trump House Republicans, winning in a vote of 181-31.
In January, McCarthy will need 218 votes to be elected as House Speaker, which means he needs Republicans from the House Freedom Caucus to back him.
Rep. Matt Gaetz (Fla.), Rep. Bob Good (Va.), and Rep. Chip Roy (Texas) believe McCarthy will be unsuccessful in his House Speaker bid.
“What I can tell you as I stand here right now is that Kevin McCarthy does not have 218 votes to become speaker. I don’t think he has 200 [votes],” Rep. Gaetz said.
McCarthy-aligned Rep. Tom Emmer (Minn.) was narrowly elected to be the House majority whip, the number 3 House GOP position. Emmer out-beat Reps. Jim Banks (Ind.) in a vote of 115-106.
Emmer has been criticized over his work as the chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC). Conservatives and Republicans alike have contested Emmer and the NRCC failed to push an effective Conservative agenda while insufficiently supporting or failing to support regime-threatening Republican candidates like Ohio Rep. Candidate J.R. Majewski.
While McCarthy won the House’s election, his lack of majority support (218 votes) sends a stern message to the McCarthy camp.
The House Freedom Caucus is making moves to push for a congressional rule change that could allow any House Republican to make a motion, at any time, to vacate the speaker’s chair McCarthy is set to take.
“Every member of Congress was elected to legislate on behalf of their constituents. To do that, members must be able to hold their own leadership accountable,” Rep. Biggs, the former head of the Freedom Caucus said of the push.
The ability to vacate the chair would allow America-First Republicans to hold McCarthy accountable for his leadership.
In 2015, the then-Freedom Caucus Chairman Rep. Mark Meadows (N.C.) threatened to make a motion to remove Republican Speaker John Boehner from the Speaker chair after Boehner voted against a trade bill.
While Boehner supporters in the House prevented the motion from reaching the floor, Boehner ultimately resigned three months later, presumably due to pressure from the unrelenting Freedom Caucus.
Stay tuned to National File for any updates.