McCarthy Holdouts Progress Towards Deal: ‘We’re in a Good Position’

Those opposed to voting for House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) for speaker are nearing an agreement with McCarthy ahead of the House convening Friday to possibly vote on its 12th ballot of the race.

McCarthy led a call Friday morning with the Republican conference indicating he had made progress with some of those who have, thus far, voted against him.

“I’m not telling you we have an agreement. We’re in a good position and having meetings,” McCarthy told members on the call, per a GOP source listening in on it.

McCarthy currently has 21 members voting against him. McCarthy received 200 votes on the most recent ballot, while House Democrat Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) received 212. Nineteen voted for another candidate, and one, Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-IN), voted present.

McCarthy needs a majority of those who vote for a name of a person — a “present” vote does not count toward this number — to win, meaning he has to persuade most of those voting against him to switch their vote.

The leader has made several concessions largely designed to shift more power from Republican leadership to rank-and-file members as well as to House Freedom Caucus members specifically.

McCarthy has offered a one-member threshold for a motion to vacate the chair, a rule that allows a speaker to be ousted mid-Congress. He has also offered Freedom Caucus members more seats on the Rules Committee and pledged votes on certain legislation, including term limits.

Freedom Caucus members, including chair Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA), Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC), and others, make up must of those defecting in the speaker vote.

Perry, Roy, Bishop, and others have all shown an openness to voting for McCarthy should they reach an agreement. Roy clarified after conflicting reports appeared online that no agreement had been reached but that they were “making progress.”

“And any agreement will take us ALL. We are making progress… but don’t let the sharks confuse the ongoing engagement,” Roy stated in a sign that he was working closely with McCarthy on the matter.

Some of the McCarthy holdouts, namely Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Lauren Boebert (R-CO), Andy Biggs (R-AZ), and possibly others, have indicated they will not vote for McCarthy under any circumstances. Those members have not, however, offered a solution for an alternative candidate who could reach the necessary majority to win.

At noon Friday, the House will either adjourn or continue voting, and, per the GOP source, McCarthy told members on the call that votes could occur through the weekend.

The leader is not expected to achieve a majority on the next round of voting with talks still in the works and the more open-minded holdouts still conveying hesitations, though this could change in subsequent rounds.