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Kevin McCarthy finally FLIPS Republican rebels in twelfth ballot defeat

Rep. Kevin McCarthy reportedly offered the 20 rogue Republicans a list of concessions he would make in exchange for their votes in the speakership race

GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy is on track to lose a twelfth ballot for Speaker on Friday but managed to pick up at least ten of the 21 who had previously objected to his bid for Speaker, leaving him seven votes short of winning the gavel. 

The vote is still ongoing.  

The rest of the dissenters were split between Rep. Kevin Hern, R-Okla., chair of the conservative Study Committee, and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, both of whom themselves back McCarthy. 

Rep. Matt Rosendale, R-Mont., faked out the chamber by beginning his vote with ‘Kevin…’ and pausing before adding ‘Hern!’ 

Ahead of the vote Rep. Matt Gaetz took to the microphone to nominate Jordan and tore into McCarthy, causing around two dozen furious members of his caucus to stage a walk-out of the House floor. 

Gaetz called McCarthy ‘the Lebron James of special interest fundraising. He said McCarthy’s bid for Speaker was an ‘exercise in vanity’ driven by ‘personal ambition.’

‘That ambition is paralyzing the House now,’ Gaetz said. 

‘You only earn the position of Speaker of the House. If you can get the votes. Mr. McCarthy doesn’t have the votes today. He will not have the votes tomorrow and he will not have the votes next week, next month, next year.’ 

At one point GOP Rep. Mike Bost of Illinois stood up and started shouting at Gaetz before being quieted by the House clerk. 

Earlier McCarthy told members of his conference votes could stretch into Saturday, a fifth day, as he presses forward with an agreement with his dissenters. 

The California Republican told his party they could be back again tomorrow on a mid-morning call that precedes another day of noon votes. 

‘I don’t know if we will get there today but we are going to make progress,’ McCarthy told reporters as he walked onto the House floor four a fourth day of voting. 

‘I’m not saying we have an agreement. I am saying we’re in a great spot,’ McCarthy said, according to Punchbowl News. 

Earlier Punchbowl reported that McCarthy said lawmakers had reached a deal that would get McCarthy over the 218-vote threshold before Rep. Chip Roy, one of the 21 GOP defectors, denied the report. 

‘He did not say this. And any agreement will take us ALL. We are making progress… but don’t let the sharks confuse the ongoing engagement,’ the Texas Republican wrote on Twitter. 

Asked if the debacle could drag into next week, Rep. Victoria Spartz, one of the McCarthy holdouts, told reporters: ‘We’ll see.’ 

‘It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if it runs two months – the republic will stand,’ she said. 

McCarthy was also heard demanding reporters get off the call, Punchbowl reported. 

Late Thursday, after the House gaveled out for the day with McCarthy losing on the 11th vote, he provided a written offer to appease the so-called ‘Taliban 20.’ 

It included, according to Roll Call, the ability for just one member to oust the speaker, down from five which was in the original rules package, additionally it promised floor votes on a balanced budget, term limits and appropriations amendments.

A previous concessional also pledged that there would be a vote on border legislation. 

McCarthy had previously agreed to allow more members of the conservative Freedom Caucus to serve on the House Rules Committee, which dictates what bills make it to the House floor. 

He also agreed that his leadership PAC would stay out of safe primary races, therefore allowing conservatives to challenge more moderate Republicans in red districts. 

Rep. Kevin McCarthy reportedly offered the 20 rogue Republicans a list of concessions he would make in exchange for their votes in the speakership race

Rep. Kevin McCarthy reportedly offered the 20 rogue Republicans a list of concessions he would make in exchange for their votes in the speakership race 

Rep. Kevin McCarthy is captured leaving the House chamber Thursday night after five additional rounds of voting, 11 total, didn't warrant him the speakership job

Rep. Kevin McCarthy is captured leaving the House chamber Thursday night after five additional rounds of voting, 11 total, didn’t warrant him the speakership job 

The House adjourned overnight Thursday after voting went on for five rounds and McCarthy was still short of a majority – the longest battle for the speakership since 1895. 

No House Speaker vote has gone on this long in modern US political history, and it’s set Republicans’ new majority in the chamber off to a rocky start. 

In 1856, it took former House Speaker Nathaniel Prentice Banks two months and 133 rounds of voting for the House of Representatives to settle on a leader – the longest stretch on record.

The eleventh round saw McCarthy allies fail to move the needle in the embattled GOP Leader’s favor. One of his Republican detractors, Rep. Matt Gaetz, nominated Donald Trump in a long-shot, largely symbolic move. 

Nominations went as expected, with McCarthy’s name back in the ring alongside Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries.

‘Never Kevin’ Republican Rep. Bob Good stood then to nominate new Republican Study Committee Chairman Kevin Hern, who has voted for McCarthy in every round thus far.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., pumps his fist as he votes for himself a tenth time in the House chamber as the House meets for the third day to elect a speaker and convene the 118th Congress in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., pumps his fist as he votes for himself a tenth time in the House chamber as the House meets for the third day to elect a speaker and convene the 118th Congress in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023

Lawmakers appeared exhausted as the House Speaker vote dragged out across a third day

Lawmakers appeared exhausted as the House Speaker vote dragged out across a third day

Rep. Paul Gosar sits by himself during the tenth vote for Speaker, and fourth vote of Thursday

Rep. Paul Gosar sits by himself during the tenth vote for Speaker, and fourth vote of Thursday

It’s a shift in strategy for McCarthy’s critics, who’ve spent most of Wednesday and Thursday largely backing Florida GOP Rep. Byron Donalds for the gavel. 

Now, the coalition of 20 conservatives dedicated to toppling McCarthy appears split on who they want as a replacement – suggesting House lawmakers could be in for a long night before a Speaker is chosen by majority vote. 

More than six hours after Thursday’s session first began, tempers have run high in the chamber.

Gaetz, while nominating Trump, was interrupted when Democrat Rep. Steve Cohen said the ex-president ‘tried to overthrow our government.’ 

The chamber appeared thinned out by Wednesday evening as exhausted lawmakers milled on and off the House floor, but appearing when they are called on to vote.

McCarthy’s critics and some of his allies were seen walking in and out of a Republican leadership office for hours as they frantically worked to hammer out a deal that would appeal to McCarthy’s hard-right detractors.

In an earlier round, firebrand Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert delivered a surprising fourth nomination when she first decided to put Hern up for a vote.

She claimed ‘threats were made’ behind closed doors against members who refused to support McCarthy, and said the leader’s Speakership bid was ‘not happening.’

‘We need to get to a point where we start evaluating what life after Kevin McCarthy looks like,’ Boebert said, adding that she ‘loved’ the intense debate raging in the Republican cloakroom and through the halls of the US Capitol.

She made the same nomination in the 10th round, and was backed up by firebrand Gaetz and Rep-elect Josh Brecheen. 

US Republican Representative Kevin McCarthy listens before the House of Representatives votes for a seventh time for a new speaker at the US Capitol in Washington, DC

US Republican Representative Kevin McCarthy listens before the House of Representatives votes for a seventh time for a new speaker at the US Capitol in Washington, DC

It comes after McCarthy lost the first three rounds on Thursday along similar margins that he’s seen earlier this week.

Gaetz voted for Donald Trump in the first two rounds but switched to Hern on the third and fourth, alongside Boebert and Brecheen – who like Hern hails from Oklahoma.

Boebert earlier cast her vote for Hern without nominating him first – in the second round of the day and eighth overall. 

She first only mentioned support for ‘Kevin,’ twisting her knife of disapproval into the embattled GOP leader as she clarified her support was with Hern.

Boebert told DailyMail.com that she had switched her vote from Donalds to Hern because ‘we’re not gonna get the votes’ to back the black Florida Republican.

Brecheen told DailyMail.com he voted for Hern because ‘He is from Oklahoma, he’s got a very good track record on fiscal responsibility.’ 

McCarthy spent much of the third day of votes walking around the chamber speaking to both allies and holdouts (seen speaking with Republican Rep.-elect Cory Mills of Florida)

McCarthy spent much of the third day of votes walking around the chamber speaking to both allies and holdouts (seen speaking with Republican Rep.-elect Cory Mills of Florida)

He shook hands with Texas Rep. Troy Nehls after the former sheriff nominated him for the third round of Thursday votes

He shook hands with Texas Rep. Troy Nehls after the former sheriff nominated him for the third round of Thursday votes

Rep.-elect George Santos is seen speaking with fellow Republican Rep.-elect Pat Fallon on the third day of votes

Rep.-elect George Santos is seen speaking with fellow Republican Rep.-elect Pat Fallon on the third day of votes

In the seventh round vote earlier on Thursday, McCarthy’s tally of ‘no’ votes quickly exceeded the four-member threshold he can afford to lose, as the members of the same group of ‘Never Kevin’ Republicans shot down his quest for the gavel.

While the majority of those rebels voted for Florida GOP Rep. Byron Donalds, as they did yesterday, firebrand Congressman Matt Gaetz broke from his faction to nominate Donald Trump. 

It’s a purely symbolic move from a lawmaker who all but swore to never vote for McCarthy.

Asked by DailyMail.com if he genuinely believed Trump was a good candidate for the gavel, Gaetz dryly quipped: ‘Yes, that’s why I voted for him.’ 

That’s despite McCarthy agreeing to several concessions that would give significantly more power to the hard-right House Freedom Caucus, multiple reports have said. 

When it first came time to cast a vote, Donalds was not present in the chamber. He later returned to vote for himself. 

Otherwise, the seventh-round vote played out largely like the others have. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene was seen sitting next to Gaetz, despite the two trading jabs in the days leading up to the Speaker vote over their differing opinions on McCarthy.

Despite that, however, Greene held fast to her vote for the beleaguered House GOP Leader. 

The first round vote ultimately saw all 212 Democrats back their new leader, Hakeem Jeffries, while McCarthy got 201 votes. 

Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert broke from her fellow GOP McCarthy critics to vote for a new Speaker candidate - Republican Study Committee Chair Rep. Kevin Hern

Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert broke from her fellow GOP McCarthy critics to vote for a new Speaker candidate – Republican Study Committee Chair Rep. Kevin Hern

Firebrand GOP Reps. Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene were seen sitting next to each other, despite their public break over McCarthy's Speakership bid

Firebrand GOP Reps. Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene were seen sitting next to each other, despite their public break over McCarthy’s Speakership bid

Nineteen Republicans supported Donalds. And Rep. Victoria Spartz of Indiana, who switched her vote from ‘McCarthy’ to ‘present’ on Wednesday, did so again.

Some lawmakers injected levity in the otherwise monotonous proceedings. 

Democratic Rep. Jared Huffman repeated a bit he began on Wednesday in which he cast votes for his party leader, Hakeem Jeffries, in the style of a popular internet meme known as ‘Leeroy Jenkins’ which involves shouting the name in an exaggerated way. 

GOP Rep.-elect Mike Lawler, casting a vote for McCarthy, noted he was proudly casting his vote from the district that is ‘home to Bill and Hillary Clinton.’ The statement got a chuckle out of the GOP leader. 

House lawmakers wearily made their way back to the US Capitol as Republicans’ fight over who will lead their thin majority spills into a third day.  

McCarthy’s bid for the House Speakership was derailed by conservative rebels, who an ally of his dubbed the ‘Taliban 20.’

The House adjourned on Wednesday evening after a raucous vote on whether to call it a night. 

Just before 9pm last night, House Democrats’ new No. 3 Rep. Pete Aguilar called for individual votes to be cast after the voice vote proved inconclusive.

Four Republicans joined Democrats in trying to drag out the session for more votes – which would have likely resulted in additional losing rounds for McCarthy – but ultimately the vote fell 216 to 214 for adjournment. 

For the seventh round, McCarthy was nominated by Michigan Rep-elect John James

For the seventh round, McCarthy was nominated by Michigan Rep-elect John James

GOP Rep. Dan Bishop of North Carolina stood to nominate Florida Rep. Byron Donalds, who the anti-McCarthy faction nominated on Wednesday

GOP Rep. Dan Bishop of North Carolina stood to nominate Florida Rep. Byron Donalds, who the anti-McCarthy faction nominated on Wednesday

At the US Capitol ahead of the vote on Thursday, McCarthy told reporters, ‘I’m confident we will reach a solution otherwise we won’t be successful.’ 

The historic gridlock has paralyzed Capitol Hill; with no Speaker, the 118th House of Representatives cannot be sworn in, and new legislation cannot move to the floor or through committees – which do not have formal chairs yet.

And on Wednesday, a group of Republican military veterans held a press conference warning that the disarray was leading to significant national security vulnerabilities. Florida Rep. Michael Waltz said from the podium, ‘Authoritarian regimes all over the world are pointing to what’s going on in the House of Representatives and saying, ‘Look at the messiness of democracy, look at how it doesn’t work, can’t function.”

It’s been reported that McCarthy made some significant new concessions to his 20 detractors, including a measure that would allow one GOP lawmaker to trigger a vote for a new House Speaker, according to CNN – known as motion to vacate the chair.

In addition to the motion to vacate the chair being set at one vote, McCarthy has also reportedly promised conservatives votes on border security and term limits legislation.

He also reportedly agreed to giving more spots on the House Rules Committee to members of the hardline-right House Freedom Caucus. The powerful panel acts as a gatekeeper for any legislation that comes to the floor.

MCCARTHY OFFERS FRESH CONCESSIONS TO WIN OVER HARD-RIGHT REPUBLICANS 

IN A STUNNING REVERSAL, THE GOP LEADER IS NOW OPEN TO ONCE ‘RED-LINE’ DEMANDS FROM RIGHT-WING REBELS 

• ONE-MEMBER ‘MOTION TO VACATE’ THE CHAIR 

In a major concession to the ultra-conservative Freedom Caucus, the California Republican has offered to lower the number of members required to sponsor a resolution to force a vote to remove the speaker – from five to one – a change that the GOP leader had previously said he would not accept. 

• FREEDOM CAUCUS TO HAVE RULES COMMITTEE SEATS 

McCarthy is open to allowing GOP hardliners to handpick four of the party’s members on the powerful Rules Committee – no small concession as it controls what legislation reaches the floor, as well as allowing ANY lawmaker to propose changes on spending legislation, including any that would tank the measure.

• A VOTE ON TERM LIMITS

There were also discussions of introducing legislation limiting House members to three terms and Senators to two terms. The upper chamber is currently led by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York meaning the proposal to limit the Senate is a no-go.

 • REBELS TO CHAIR SUB-COMMITTEE 

Several ‘Never Kevin Caucus’ members want high-profile assignments including Florida’s Matt Gaetz as chair of the House Armed Services subcommittee and Maryland’s Andy Harris as the head of the Appropriations subcommittee on Health and Human Services 

• CHANGES TO APPROPRIATIONS PROCESS

The Freedom Caucus wants rule changes that would decentralize power in both the House GOP – and the rest of the chamber – to give more power to individual members.  The demand that committee chairs are selected by the committee and not the leadership, and rewards fundraising and party loyalty.

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