Kevin McCarthy Gives 4 More Concessions Before Thursday’s Speakership Vote

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., talks with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., at the beginning of an evening session after six failed votes to elect a speaker and convene the 118th Congress in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) gave the 20 conservative holdouts four more concessions before Thursday’s continued speakership vote.

The concessions, negotiated Wednesday night between McCarthy and his critics, are meant to peal several members away from the group of 20 holdouts. McCarthy needs 16 lawmakers to break ranks with the so-called “rebels.”

The concessions McCarthy made are significant. Axios and Politico Playbook reported:

  • One member motion threshold needed to force a vote ousting a speaker, instead of five.
  • More House Freedom Caucus members on the House Rules Committee (two seats).
  • Pledges to hold votes on lawmaker term limit and border security bills.
  • Major changes to the appropriations process to prevent another omnibus bill by allowing floor amendments to be offered by any lawmaker.

In addition, the McCarthy-aligned super PAC, Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF), pledged it would not spend money in Republican primary races against GOP candidates in open races, as its affiliates had done in several races in the 2022 midterm elections.

The concessions are in addition to ten more concessions previously negotiated between the GOP factions.

It is unknown if the concessions will be enough to move 16 members to support McCarthy. The seventh round of voting is set to resume Thursday at noon.

Critics of the concessions have stated leadership has not always followed through on its promises. House rules have often been suspended in times of political urgency. Others argued the CLF’s promise is unenforceable because other mechanisms exist to funnel money to preferred candidates.

Yet McCarthy’s concessions are substantial and have met many conservative lawmakers’ demands. He said Wednesday he liked the direction of the negotiations.

The House will keep voting until a speaker is elected. Lawmakers will begin their seventh round of voting Thursday. Playbook reported Thursday some lawmakers have suggested postponing more votes until next week to allow for more time to negotiate. Others have opposed that idea.

“The optics of us leaving without a speaker would be really bad,” a Republican lawmaker told the publication.

Follow Wendell Husebø on Twitter @WendellHusebø. He is the author of Politics of Slave Morality.

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