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Tuesday, February 7, 2023
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McCarthy Says Challenges Against Him Could Let Dems Choose Next Speaker

'This is very fragile---that we are the only stopgap for this Biden administration. And if we don’t do this right, the Democrats can take the majority...'

(Headline USAHouse Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., claimed this week that Democrats could end up picking the next House speaker if Republicans oppose his nomination.

A number of conservative House Republicans have challenged McCarthy’s bid for the speakership, arguing the GOP caucus needs new leadership after its disappointing performance in November’s midterm elections. 

Some have gone so far as to accuse McCarthy of conspiring with the D.C. Establishment to undermine conservative candidates.

McCarthy warned that such challenges could have far-reaching consequences.

“We have to speak as one voice. We will only be successful if we work together, or we’ll lose individually,” he told Newsmax on Monday.

“This is very fragile—that we are the only stopgap for this Biden administration,” he continued. “And if we don’t do this right, the Democrats can take the majority. If we play games on the floor, the Democrats can end up picking who the speaker is.”

In order to win the speakership, McCarthy needs to win majority support on the House floor when the new Congress convenes on Jan. 3. At least one House Republican has already mounted an official challenge to McCarthy: Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona.

After talking to his colleagues, Biggs predicted this week that McCarthy will lose his bid for the speakership. He estimated that McCarthy is down roughly 20 votes with “pretty hard nos.”

“I was told by a number of people, who came after to me afterwards, who aren’t members of [the] Freedom Caucus, [that] ‘Hey, I voted for you’ or ‘I voted against Kevin,'” Biggs revealed.

However, there are other Republicans that share McCarthy’s concerns about GOP infighting. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., came out against the challenges to McCarthy, urging her colleagues not to give Democrats an opportunity.

“I actually think that’s a bad strategy when we’re looking at having a very razor-thin majority, with potentially 219—we’re talking about one vote,” she said. “It’s very, very risky right now to produce a leadership challenge, especially for speaker of the House, when they are going to open the door and allow Liz Cheney, possibly, to become speaker.”

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