Kevin McCarthy, who became House speaker after a bruising four-day battle last week, is likely to face further GOP infighting when lawmakers return to the Capitol on Monday.
To secure the votes of GOP hard-liners, McCarthy agreed to a set of rules that might not be an easy sell for some Republican lawmakers, especially moderates from districts that President Joe Biden won. Some of the compromises could weaken McCarthy’s own power, including one that would allow a single lawmaker to initiate a vote to remove McCarthy as speaker.
South Carolina Rep. Nancy Mace, one of McCarthy’s strongest supporters, said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that she was “on the fence right now” about the rules.
“I like the rules package,” Mace said Sunday. “But what I don’t support is a small number of people trying to get a deal done or deals done for themselves in private in secret.”
During the final hours of the speaker fight, Rep. Tony Gonzales, a moderate Republican from Uvalde, Texas, said he would be a “no” on the rules package. He maintained that position Sunday morning on “Face the Nation.”
McCarthy ally Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio said on “Fox News Sunday” he expects Republicans will have the 218 votes needed to pass the rules package Monday evening.
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Another McCarthy supporter, Kentucky Rep. James Comer, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he was not convinced the House could go two years without a motion to vacate.
“I’m not going to say there won’t be one person who tries to abuse that motion,” Comer said.
Some Republicans sought to downplay the tensions.
“A little temporary conflict is necessary in this town,” Texas Rep. Roy said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Late Friday night, Alabama Rep. Mike Rogers had to be physically restrained after confronting Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz for continuing to block McCarthy’s speakership.
“We need a little of that. We need a little of this sort of breaking the glass in order to get us to the table,” Roy said.
Jordan echoed Roy’s sentiments on “Fox News Sunday.”
“Sometimes democracy is messy but I would argue that’s how the founders intended it,” Jordan said. “They wanted real debate, real input from all people and you get a decision.”
Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw, another McCarthy supporter who criticized the rebels, also expressed support for the rules package ahead of Monday’s vote.
“The new rules and the new ways of doing business are good,” Crenshaw said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” But he acknowledged that the speaker fight that dragged on was where “the heartburn is.”
“This deal was easy, that wasn’t the hard part. There’s not as much disagreement as everyone thinks,” Crenshaw said. “It could have been done earlier, that’s what justifies the animosity that occurred all week.”
Recap of the night:Republican Kevin McCarthy clinches House speaker vote; members sworn in