As Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) twisted in the winds of uncertainty Wednesday, fellow Republican and Texas Congressman Chip Roy continued to bask in the glory of stalling McCarthy’s bid to become Speaker of the House.
McCarthy failed to win the required 218 votes, as Roy and 19 members of the Freedom Caucus continued to batter the process by nominating other members, including Florida’s Rep. Byron Donalds. The move got Roy a standing ovation because it marked the first time two Black men held simultaneous nominations for speaker.
McCarthy failed to win seven votes to become the speaker. And there’s a scenario that some moderate Republicans, wearied by the infighting, could support Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-New York) for the job of speaker. While unlikely, speculation about what happens next is reaching a fevered pitch.
However, Roy’s work, along with that of the Freedom Caucus, wasn’t appreciated by some of his fellow GOP members and fellow Texans, including Rep. Dan Crenshaw.
“I’m tired of your stupid platitudes that some consultant told you to say on the campaign trail, alright. Behind closed doors tell us what you actually want, or shut the f*** up,” Crenshaw said of the holdouts, according to the Washington Post’s Dylan Wells.
Forbes Magazine contributor Ben Koltun summarized the potential for this effort by Roy and others to backfire if Republicans can’t get a deal done on a Speaker.
“There’s even the possibility of House conservative priorities being ignored entirely with Democrats and a few moderate House Republicans circumventing Republican leadership with a procedural maneuver called a discharge petition,” Koltun wrote. “It has been attempted on the debt limit in the past. In that case, Senate Republicans in the minority may have more sway in negotiating legislation with Democrats than House Republicans in the majority. Either way, House Republican leadership will be at the weakest it’s ever been in the majority, creating a chaotic governing environment.”
There was also the question of what the Freedom Caucus wanted, something even conservative media was trying to understand. The National Review’s John McCormack reported that Roy’s demands are vague.
“National Review briefly caught up with Congressman Roy in the Capitol and asked if it’s accurate that he and other anti-McCarthy Republicans are demanding four seats on the Rules Committee. “I’m not going to specify a number,” Roy replied. “That number has been floated in some previous conversations.” There are 13 seats in total on the committee — nine for the majority and four for the minority — and the minority party routinely votes against any bill the speaker wants to bring to the floor.”
Roy has plenty of hardline supporters in his effort, but the question now is who blinks first?