McCarthy proposes deal to end stalemate in House speaker battle

Washington (AP) — Contours of a potential Republican leader deal Kevin McCarthy House Speaker begins to emerge after 11 failed votes in three days of grueling political spectacle First time in 100 years.. It threw Republicans into turmoil and exposed once again the fragility of American democracy.

The House will return on Friday as Republicans attempt to elect a new Speaker – this time against the backdrop of the second anniversary of the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol. It was a scene of unimaginable chaos that shook the country as a mob of supporters tried to stop Congress from proving his election defeat.

McCarthy didn’t commit to a final vote to secure the chairman’s gavel, but there have been faint signs of a deal with at least some of the far-right holdouts who denied his support.

“We’re making some progress,” McCarthy said late Thursday, brushing aside questions about the long and thorny process. is important.”

The deal McCarthy has presented to supporters such as the conservative Freedom Caucus centers around rule changes they have been calling for for months. These changes would reduce the powers of the Speaker of the House and give laymen the power to influence the drafting and passage of bills.

Even if McCarthy manages to secure the votes he needs, he will emerge as a weakened voice. But he could also be daring, as a survivor of the most brutal battle for the gavel in US history.

At the heart of the new deal is the restoration of House rules, which allow one member to issue a motion to “vacate the chairman”, essentially taking a vote to remove the chairman. You will be able to McCarthy resisted allowing it because it was held over the head of former Republican Party chairman John Boehner, forcing him into early retirement.

Freedom Congress chairman Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, who was the leader of Trump’s effort to challenge the 2020 presidential election, appeared to embrace the proposed package and tweeted a quote from Ronald Reagan. .

Other wins for the holdout include provisions in the proposed deal to expand the number of seats available on the House Rules Committee, a 72-hour requirement for the bill to be posted before voting, and federal restrictions. promise to attempt a constitutional amendment that imposes The number of terms a person can serve in the House and Senate.

As hopes don’t get ahead of reality, South Carolina conservative holdout Ralph Norman said, “This is Round 1.”

It could be a deal to end the stalemate that has left the House completely dysfunctional. Members are not sworn in and little other business occurs. The House Chief Executive’s memo Thursday night said the committee “shall only carry out its core constitutional responsibilities.”

After a long week of losing votes, Thursday’s tally was dismal. 100 years ago In a final, protracted battle to choose speakers.

A California Republican exited the floor, quipping about the moment: “Apparently, I like making history.”

Feelings of boredom, desperation and frustration seemed to become more and more evident.

One of McCarthy’s commentators, Rep. Matt Gates of Florida, voted for Trump. A great division over the future of the Republican Party. Then he went a step further and turned the day from protest to silly by officially appointing the former president as Speaker of the House on the 11th ballot. Trump got a vote from Gates and made him laugh.

Democrats said it was time to get serious. “This hallowed House needs a leader,” said Colorado Democrat Joe Negse, who nominated his own party leader, Hakeem Jeffries, as chairman.

What began as a political novelty, for the first time since 1923 The candidate did not win the gavel on the first ballot. bitter republican feud When Potential crisis deepening.

Democratic leader Jeffries of New York received the most votes on all ballots, but fell short of a majority. McCarthy was his second and failed to move up the order.

With each passing day, the pressure mounts for McCarthy to somehow win or decline the votes he needs. The incoming Republican chairs of the House Foreign Affairs, Military and Intelligence Committees all said national security was at risk.

Republicans Michael McCall, Mike Rogers and Mike Turner said in a joint statement, “The Biden administration is running wild and not monitoring the White House.

But McCarthy’s right-wing detractors, led by the Freedom Caucus, seemed emboldened, aligned with Trump.

Republican resistance forces have repeatedly asserted the name of Rep. Byron Donald of Florida, ensuring a continuation of the stalemate that increasingly brings racial and political undercurrents. They also nominated Republican Kevin Hahn of Oklahoma, splitting the protest vote.

Donalds, who is black, is seen as an emerging party leader, the first black leader of a major party in the U.S. Congress, and a Republican opponent to Democratic leader Jeffries, who will one day become president. increase.

the polls continued to give nearly the same result 20 conservative holdout Still refusing to support McCarthy, leaving him well short of the 218 normally required to win the gavel.

In fact, McCarthy’s approval rating dropped to 201, and later to 200, as one of the Republicans simply switched to voting “present.” With only 222 seats for the Republican majority, he was generous with his votes.

The chaotic start of the new Congress shows the difficulties that Republicans currently control the House of Representatives, just as some past Republican speakers, including Boehner, have struggled to lead the rebellious right wing. In. The result was a government shutdown, a stalemate, and Boehner’s early retirement.

The longest battle for the gavel began in late 1855, dragging out 133 votes for two months in the debate over slavery leading up to the Civil War.


AP writers Mary Clare Jalonick and Kevin Freking contributed to this report.