McCarthy offers Republicans a deal to end the orators’ fight

McCarthy made no promises of a final vote that would secure him the Speaker’s gavel, but offered glimmers of an early deal with the reluctant Republicans.

WASHINGTON — The outlines of a deal that could make Republicans the leader Kevin McCarthy The Speaker of the House has begun to emerge in a political spectacle after three grueling days and 11 failed votes unseen in a century. It has left Republicans in disarray and once again exposed the fragility of American democracy.

The House of Representatives will be back at it on Friday, and Republicans are trying to elect their new representative — this time against the backdrop of the second anniversary of the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol. The attack was an unimaginable mess that shook the country, as a mob of President Donald Trump supporters tried to block Congress from confirming his election defeat.

McCarthy made no promises of a final vote that would secure him the Speaker’s gavel, but glimmers of a deal have surfaced with at least some of the far-right holdouts who have denied him support.

“We’ve made some progress,” McCarthy said late Thursday, brushing off questions about the lengthy, messy process. “That’s not how you start, that’s how you end.”

The agreement McCarthy presented to the conservative Freedom Caucus holdouts and others revolves around rule changes they have been seeking for months. These changes would reduce the power of the Speaker’s Office and give ordinary legislators more leverage in drafting and passing legislation.

Even if McCarthy is able to secure the votes he needs, he will emerge as a weakened speaker who has relinquished some powers and constantly puts him in danger of being voted out by his opponents. But he might also be encouraged as a survivor of one of the more brutal battles for the Hammer in US history.

At the heart of the looming deal is the reintroduction of a house rule that would allow a single lawmaker to table a motion to “vacate the presidency,” essentially calling for a vote to impeach the speaker. McCarthy had refused to allow it because it had been held over the head of former Republican Speaker John Boehner and hounded into early retirement.

The chair of the chamber’s Freedom Caucus, Pennsylvania-based Scott Perry, who had played a leading role in Trump’s efforts to contest the 2020 presidential election, appeared open-minded about the proposed package, tweeting Ronald Reagan’s adage: “Trust, but verify.” “

Other wins for the holdouts include provisions in the proposed deal to expand the number of seats available on the House Rules Committee, mandate 72 hours for bills to be released before votes, and promise to attempt a constitutional amendment imposing federal limits on the Number of terms a person could serve in the House of Representatives and Senate.

Lest hopes get ahead of reality, South Carolina conservative holdout Ralph Norman said, “This is the first round.”

It could be the makings of a deal to end a standoff that has left the house in less than full working order. Members have not been sworn in and almost no other business can happen. A memo sent Thursday night by the Chief Administrative Officer of the House of Representatives said the committees “shall perform only core constitutional functions.”

After a long week of failed voting, Thursday’s record was bleak: McCarthy lost the seventh, eighth and then the historic ninth, tenth and eleventh rounds of voting, beating the number of 100 years ago in the last protracted battle for the choice of a speaker.

The California Republican exited the chamber and quipped of the moment, “Apparently I like making history.”

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

One McCarthy critic, Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, voted for Trump – a symbolic but clear sign of that wide disagreements about the future of the Republican Party. He then went further and took the day from protest to absurdity by formally nominating the former president as speaker of the House of Representatives for the 11th ballot. Trump got a vote from Gaetz and caused laughter.

Democrats said it was time to get serious. “This holy House of Representatives needs a leader,” said Democrat Joe Neguse of Colorado, nominating his own party’s leader Hakeem Jeffries for speaker.

What began as a political novelty the first time since 1923 A candidate who didn’t win the gavel on the first vote has evolved into it a bitter feud of the Republican Party and deepening potential crisis.

New York Democratic leader Jeffries won the most votes in each ballot, but also narrowly managed to get a majority. McCarthy finished second and gained no ground.

The pressure on McCarthy has grown with each passing day to somehow find the voices he needs or step aside. The new Republican chairs of the House foreign affairs, armed forces and intelligence committees all said national security was at risk.

“The Biden administration is uncontrolled and there is no oversight of the White House,” Republicans Michael McCaul, Mike Rogers and Mike Turner wrote in a joint statement.

But McCarthy’s right-wing critics, led by the Freedom Caucus and allied with Trump, seemed emboldened — despite the former President’s public backing of McCarthy.

Republican officials repeatedly mentioned the name of Florida Rep. Byron Donalds, ensuring the continuation of the standoff, which brought with it growing undercurrents of race and politics. They also introduced Oklahoma Republican Kevin Hern and shared the protest vote.

Donalds, who is black, is seen as a rising party leader and GOP counterpoint to Democratic leader Jeffries, who is the first black leader of a major political party in the US Congress and is on course to one day become speaker himself.

The ballot papers always brought almost the same result, 20 conservative advocates He still refused to endorse McCarthy, leaving him well short of the 218 normally required to win the Hammer.

In fact, McCarthy saw his support dwindle to 201 when another Republican switched to present and later voted to 200. With a GOP majority of just 222 seats, he had no votes to spare.

The disorganized start to the new Congress pointed to troubles ahead for Republicans, who now control the House, much like some previous Republican speakers, including Boehner, have had trouble leading a rebellious right flank. The result: government closures, standoffs and Boehner’s early retirement.

The longest battle for the gavel began in late 1855 and dragged on for over two months, with 133 ballots cast during debates over slavery in the run-up to the Civil War.

AP writers Mary Clare Jalonick and Kevin Freking contributed to this report. McCarthy offers Republicans a deal to end the orators’ fight

Laura Coffey

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