5 Ways the GOP House Speaker Battle May Come to an End with or Without Kevin McCarthy

  • As of Wednesday night, Rep. Kevin McCarthy had lost six rounds of voting to become House Speaker.
  • But McCarthy — or the 20 Republican holdouts — don’t appear close to conceding.
  • Here are five possible ways that the battle for House Speaker could end.

The battle for speaker in the new Republican-controlled US House of Representatives was set to drag out into a third day after the chamber adjourned on Wednesday evening.

About 20 RepublicansI have resisted the urge to support Rep. Kevin McCarthy. failed to win a majority after six rounds of voting. McCarthy will need the support of all Republicans to become speaker due to the GOP’s narrow majority in the House.

The protest group of Republicans against McCarthy does not appear to be giving up. It is unclear how the whole ordeal will end.

“If both sides can claim victory, then that’s the scenario you would most likely put your money on,” Kevin Kosar, a senior fellow with the American Enterprise Institute, told Insider. It’s not clear what this looks like.

These are five possible ways that the House Speaker battle could end, whether McCarthy takes the position or not.

McCarthy gives GOP holdouts the things they want

The opposition group of lawmakers to McCarthy has made a series of demands for the new Congress. They want to see rules changes that give more power to individual members.

McCarthy tentatively agreed to some, including expanding the rights of members to “motion to vacate the chair,”This would allow a few members to force a “no confidence” vote in the chamber for the speaker. However, some Republicans want to expand the motion even further to allow one individual to force such a vote as was the case in 2019, when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made the motion less effective.

It’s not clear what other concessions McCarthy could make for those opposed to him. There are some exceptions, however. Rep. Matt GaetzFlorida, have suggested that McCarthy could not do much to win their vote.

McCarthy bows out, and a consensus speaker was selected

McCarthy appears determined to become speaker after six votes. Kosar stated that McCarthy could withdraw if he believes he cannot win or sees support eroding through additional votes.

It is not clear how long McCarthy would be willing and able to extend the voting. However, his support has been dwindling since Tuesday’s first vote. Only 19 Republicans voted for him.

20 Republicans voted for Wednesday’s final election. Rep. Byron Donalds.

McCarthy makes a deal with Democrats

McCarthy could theoretically make a deal to the Democratic leadership, where some members of his party cross lines and support him for speaker. However, Democrats have yet to signal any willingness to intervene.

When asked Wednesday if Democrats could interfere, Rep. Nancy Pelosi said: “This is their problem. This is leadership. They should be able and willing to work it out. Do not leave this up to the Democrats.

McCarthy could also lose his position if he cooperates with Democrats.

“The Freedom Caucus’ response will be, “Oh my God Kevin McCarthy schemed to with Democrats,” Kosar said. He added that McCarthy could also be held responsible by the Democrats for not telling McCarthy that they were doing him a favor since he couldn’t become speaker on his own.

Members stop showing up when the vote drags along, lowering the majority threshold

To be elected speaker, McCarthy will need to win a majority (or more) of the votes cast by his fellow members. If some members do not show up, which is more likely as the voting drags on for too long, McCarthy could still be elected speaker, even without the support from his whole party.

McCarthy is pushed through by House changes to the rules

The House could in theory also change the rules for voting to become speaker. McCarthy could, for example, move that only a plurality of votes is required to become speaker. This means that even if they don’t win a majority, the speaker would be the one with the most votes.

This motion could be passed to scare enough Republicans to support McCarthy, in order for a Democrat to not become speaker. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, the House Minority leader for the Democrats, has always received 212 votes.

Kosar stated that such an outcome was “fanciful,” but technically possible.

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