House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., recently won the Republican vote for next House speaker, but in doing so exposed divisions between moderates and party hardliners, Politico reports.
Multiple Republicans expressed opposition to McCarthy being named House speaker following the party's disappointing performance in the midterm elections, which likely left them with a single-digit advantage in the House and without a majority in the Senate as votes are still being tallied.
Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., posed the biggest challenge to McCarthy on the ballot, but more than 30 Republicans in total either voted for a candidate other than McCarthy or abstained, leaving the California Republican with 188 votes in the secret ballot.
Politico reports that McCarthy has signaled his openness to embracing several demands being made by the more conservative members of the GOP, such as bringing back the "motion to vacate the chair," which could essentially remove the speaker, and reducing the influence the speaker has on committee assignments, but this move has moderates looking at what demands they should make for their support.
Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., joked that "everybody's a Joe Manchin," in reference to the moderate Democrat whose influence in the Senate has grown thanks to the upper chamber's 50-50 status.
Reps. Matt Rosendale, R-Mont., and Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., both expressed doubts about McCarthy's viability as House speaker prior to the vote.
Rosendale said that McCarthy "wants to maintain the status quo, which consolidates power into his hands and a small group of individuals he personally selects. We need a leader who can stand up to a Democrat-controlled Senate and President Biden, and unfortunately, that isn't Kevin McCarthy."
Gaetz said, "Kevin McCarthy couldn't get 218 votes; he couldn't get 200 votes. He couldn't get 190 votes."
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