November 29, 2022

INFIGHTING: GOP in disarray as McCarthy faces criticism, challenges

INFIGHTING: GOP in disarray as McCarthy faces criticism, challenges

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Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is the current House Republican Leader, but as the new Congress takes its seats, the organization of leadership is still in question, and one of his colleagues has just made a bid for the job.

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If Republicans successfully flip the House (which is leaning Republican, but is still not yet settled), McCarthy will likely aim to take the role of House Speaker, leaving the seat of GOP Leader — majority leader — open, but it’s not yet clear how much support he’ll have.

Some prominent Republicans have already indicated that they would not support McCarthy as House Speaker, on the basis that they don’t feel he supported Trump strongly enough on January 6th. No other Republican has yet come forward to challenge him for the seat, though.

However, Steve Scalise (R-LA) is making a bid for the role of Majority Leader. If Republicans take the House, and if both he and McCarthy have the support they need to take these positions, he’ll simply step into the second-highest position for House Republicans.

However, if the stars don’t align for his party, Scalise aiming for GOP Leader creates a challenge — and that’s assuming the party doesn’t simply decide they want McCarthy out of the role anyway. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), for instance, has lashed out at both fellow party members, and if the GOP’s majority is narrow (or nonexistent), there’s a lot more room to challenge the would-be leadership.

From The Hill:

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“’As your Majority Leader, I will work relentlessly to usher our vision through the House and show the country how conservative ideas can solve the problems that families are facing,’ [Scalise] added…Scalise also vowed to hold the Biden administration ‘on notice’ with committee chairs.”

The potential for Scalise to take the role of House Speaker, displacing McCarthy as top House Republican, had been a subject of speculation, and though Scalise has insisted he doesn’t plan to take McCarthy’s place, the hierarchy remains in question until Congress is seated and votes on these positions.

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From POLITICO:

“That isn’t to say all the competition between the House GOP’s No. 1 and No. 2 has dissipated. Heading into a new Congress that will start with a shuffling of leadership positions, there are still potential mini-proxy battles at play as McCarthy looks to fill his leadership team with loyal allies, while Scalise looks to bring in his.”

You can see Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) below, discussing the lack of support for McCarthy as House Speaker.

Ultimately, Scalise’s declaration for the role of GOP Leader is just the first move in a shuffle that could become contentious, especially if some of the MAGA caucus sticks to its (proverbial) guns about McCarthy’s leadership.

Steph Bazzle covers politics and theocracy, always aiming for a world free from extremism and authoritarianism. Follow Steph on Twitter @imjustasteph.

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