Rep.-elect Mike Lawler, R-N.Y., expressed confidence that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., will find the necessary votes to become Speaker of the House.
“We’re not going to be held hostage by a handful of members when the overwhelming majority of the conference is in full support of Kevin,” Lawler told CNN “State of the Union” co-anchor, Jake Tapper.
McCarthy won the vote within the Republican conference last month to become their nominee for Speaker. Still, the moderate Republican is facing a showdown on the floor next month to officially take the position in the next Congress.
The GOP’s majority in the House could nevertheless put McCarthy below the required threshold as five Republicans have already voiced opposition. Opponents include America-First Republicans Reps. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., Bob Good, R-Va., Ralph Norman, R-S.C., and Matt Rosendale, R-Mont.
Additional skeptics include Reps. Scott Perry, R-Pa., Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, Dan Bishop, R-N.C., Andrew Clyde, R-Ga., Barry Moore, R-Ala., Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, an Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga.
Lawler told Tapper that he expects “cooler heads to prevail” and McCarthy to find the votes he needs, urging House Republicans to instead focus on the Biden administration.
“I think the American people are looking for members of Congress to be serious, to be sober, to be focused on addressing these challenges,” Lawler said on CNN.
“And that’s where our efforts and attention should be,” he added. “The conference has spoken loud and clear. And I think all of my colleagues should move forward in support of Kevin so that we can get to work on behalf of the American people.”
Still, there remain concerns that House Democrats will band up with moderate Republicans to elect an “anti-Trump” speaker as a rebuttal to the last administration. House Minority Leader-elect Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., on Sunday said that was unlikely but added, “we’ll see what happens.”
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