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McCarthy’s speakership bid in peril as more Republicans stage revolt

House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy wants to demonstrate that Republicans have their own agenda to address climate change, but that the party disagrees with the aggressive path being charted by President Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

McCarthy’s speakership bid in peril as more Republicans stage revolt

Virginia Aabram

November 23, 12:18 PM November 23, 12:18 PM

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The math got worse for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) in his bid for speaker of the House on Tuesday, after Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC) came out as a hard “no” when asked if he would support McCarthy.

That makes Norman the third Republican to unequivocally state he will oppose his bid. Republicans will likely only have a 222-vote majority next year, and the speaker needs the votes of 218 House members, meaning McCarthy can only afford to lose four Republican votes.

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As things stand, Reps. Norman, Matt Gaetz (R-FL), and Bob Good (R-VA) have said they will cast “no” votes in the election on Jan. 3, while three others are likely “noes” but haven’t entirely come out against McCarthy.

“There are a growing number of us who have just lost faith that McCarthy can do the job, and the speaker is the most important position at this point in time in this country,” Norman said on CNN.

Norman announced Tuesday that McCarthy lost any chance to gain his favor when he rejected the Republican Study Committee’s seven-year plan for balancing the budget.

“Economic security is national security. I was not happy with the answer Kevin gave me about balancing the budget,” he said. “I don’t care who the speaker is. It could be Mickey Mouse, but if we have our way, we’re gonna have some firm economic mandates.”

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The opposition mostly hails from the conservative House Freedom Caucus, though not all of it is coming from members. Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), a former caucus chairman, cast himself as an alternative to McCarthy, receiving 31 votes to McCarthy’s 188 in House Republicans’ internal nominating vote. Biggs, along with Reps. Matt Rosendale (R-MT) and Ken Buck (R-CO), have threatened but not committed to voting “no,” according to Punchbowl News.

McCarthy is reportedly working with conference members who opposed him to cut deals in exchange for their support in the six weeks leading up to the election. At the southern border on Tuesday, he called on Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to resign and promised investigations, seen as a way to appease the caucus over its border demands.

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