Why Are Some Republicans Revolting Against Kevin McCarthy’s Bid To Be Speaker of the House?

The insurgent Republicans want to balance the budget, impose new barriers to immigration, and increase transparency for future earmark spending.

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For the first time in 100 years, no one was elected speaker of the House on the first ballot when the new session of Congress opened on Tuesday—thanks to a breakaway faction of Republicans who denied Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s (R–Calif.) bid to return to the top post in the House of Representatives.

McCarthy finished second to Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D–N.Y.) in the first round of voting, but neither candidate reached the magic number of 218 needed to win a majority. Rep. Andy Biggs (R–Ariz.) received 10 votes on the first ballot, while Rep. Jim Jordan (R–Ohio) picked up six votes and three other lawmakers got one vote each. In all, 19 Republicans voted against McCarthy, who can afford to lose just four votes and maintain a majority of the closely divided chamber.

In a second round of balloting, Jeffries got 212 votes while McCarthy received 203, and Jordan consolidated the 19 Republican votes against McCarthy.

But why, you might be wondering, would a group of Republicans trigger this sort of chaos?

On Tuesday morning, Rep. Scott Perry (R–Penn.), one of the renegade Republicans, laid out the answer to that question in a lengthy statement posted to his Twitter account. Perry said that the group of Republicans opposed to McCarthy was seeking “firm commitments” from McCarthy on four “concrete policies” they wished to bring to a vote.

Those policies, according to Perry: A balanced budget, passage of the Fair Tax Act (which would replace the federal income, payroll, and estate taxes with a national sales tax), passage of a proposal crafted by Texas Republicans that aims to crack down on illegal immigration, and the imposition of term limits for members of Congress.

Additionally, Perry said that McCarthy was asked to support two changes to how the House operates. First, to require a two-thirds vote to approve earmarks, which would have to be voted on individually. Second, to allow amendments that would cut spending to be introduced on the House floor to any legislation.

As a set of proposals, it’s a bit of a mixed bag—though the immigration element would be a massively expensive attempt to limit the free movement of people. It’s also a bit crazy that lawmakers have to resort to once-in-a-century tactics just to get congressional leaders to consider balancing the budget.

But it is certainly not a radical or wildly irresponsible list of demands. More transparency and accountability on earmarks—something that hasn’t really materialized despite the promises of those who pushed to end the earmark ban—would certainly be welcome. Floor amendments to legislation would be a step toward restoring the so-called “regular order” of moving legislation through Congress, another welcome and overdue reform.

In that same Tuesday morning statement, Perry said McCarthy effectively forfeited his chance to be speaker by refusing to go along with those requests. Later on Tuesday, Perry and his fellow breakaway Republicans followed through with that threat.

What happens now? It’s unclear. There will be a third vote in the House, and perhaps many more. In 1855, it took 133 ballots before a stalemate for speaker of the House was broken.

“We are going to continue to vote until Kevin’s the next speaker,” Rep. Dave Joyce (R–Ohio), a McCarthy supporter, told CNN after the second round of balloting on Tuesday.

It might look chaotic and weird, but actually, this is just fine. It’s democracy. For the moment, and maybe longer, think of the House of Representatives as functioning more like a multi-party democracy than the two-party duopoly that we’re used to seeing.

In multiparty systems, two or more parties have to come together and form a coalition in order to achieve a governing majority. That requires some horse-trading and usually involves drawing up a semiformal document outlining what policies the coalition will work together to craft (and sometimes, equally importantly, which policies will be off-the-table).

For the purposes of the speaker election, Perry and his fellow renegade Republicans are operating like a minority party in a multiparty system: offering their support in exchange for getting to put a hand on the steering wheel of the future coalition government. If McCarthy doesn’t want to make a deal with them, he might have to seek a coalition government with a centrist faction of Democrats. Failing that, Republicans might try to find someone else within their ranks who can get the requisite 218 votes from the chamber.

Click here to read the full article at Reason.com


  1. Robin Itzler - Patriot Neighbors says

    People who know me are aware that I am NOT a Kevin McCarthy fan. However, what the 20 holdouts are doing now is wrong. The 20 need to also win in the public forum. Throughout November and December they should have been writing op-eds and giving interviews explaining in detail WHY they will not support McCarthy. Not now while the House votes and all the American people hear is that they are voting NO on electing McCarthy.

    The 20 scream that they represent the majority. Although I agree with the 20’s goals, in the Republican House, the majority wants McCarthy to be their next speaker.

    Listen to the 20 in interviews and many times each one focuses on different reasons for not supporting McCarthy. Sounds like the goal post keeps moving. That makes all of them sound ridiculous.

    Then the 20 vote for or nominate representatives who either do not want the job (Jim Jordan) or never announced for it so no one knows their position on issues except the person is not Kevin McCarthy.


    Besides, it INSULTS PRESIDENT TRUMP who has endorsed Kevin McCarthy. That his own core supporters are ignoring Trump will only make it harder for Trump to run for re-election.

    Elon Musk also came out endorsing Kevin McCarthy.

    If elected speaker, McCarthy will have his feet to the AMERICA FIRST fire. They need to vote for him so the Republican House can do its business.

    Yesterday I called or emailed almost all 20 and introduced myself as an America First MAGA who writes columns and a newsletter. I respectfully shared my thoughts.

    In my opinion, this fiasco strengthens Democrats! Most Americans are not into political weeds so they see a party that is so dysfunctional that they cannot even elect their own speaker.

    Say what you want about the Marxist Democrats – and we can say a lot – but the Squad never did this to Nancy Pelosi. And this is why Republicans are where they are today.

    In close, I support the 20’s goals, but this is NOT the way to proceed. They should have started to present their position in November and all through December. At this point, all most Americans understand is that a group of 20 continues to vote no on electing Kevin McCarthy Speaker of the House.

    • I agree! We want change but when we put Trump or these 20 Reps in office to give us change we get upset at what they do.

      However, I agree these issues should have been resolved prior to the vote in Nov, Dec. Most voters only look at sound bites and those are making even me cringe!

      What’s even worse is that out of all the Republicans in Congress McCarthy, Jordan, and Scalise are the BEST we have there? Seriously? There are no others?

      No wonder Republicans are no better than Democrats! VOTERS WAKE UP!

    • This is what the 20 holdouts got him to agree to…
      Here’s some of what’s in play:
      V Jeffersonian Motion to vacate the Chair. This allows a single person to make the motion to remove the speaker if he goes back on his word or policy agenda.
      V A “Church” style committee: this allows us to look into the weaponization of orgs like the FBI against the American people.
      V Term Limit Vote
      Single Subject Bills
      (that can’t be loaded with irrelevant nonsense)
      Texas Border Plan
      A budget that stops an increase in the debt ceiling and holds senate accountable.
      Ending emergency funding and all
      COVID mandates and funding.
      V 72 Hours to read a bill.

  2. Don’t recall Lauren Boebert saying anything about the four “concrete policies” in her discussion with Hannity yesterday. How come?

  3. Yay, Dissidents! Stick to your guns.
    If McCarthy was worth supporting he would have denounced McConnell for the Omnibus cave. He would impeach Biden, call for cuts in Ukraine spending, show support for J6 political prisoners.
    In terms of timing, this is perfect. After the Omnibus fiasco there is nothing of substance on the plate. Repubs will convene toothless “investigations” that will go nowhere. It’s a great time to “burn it all down” without doing any actual harm.
    Plus we get to see which RINOs value collegiality with Dems over serving Traditional Americans.

    • Richard Wahl says

      This is correct. Apparently, Kevin’s voting record shows he votes for more spending 40% of the time.

      Why are people whining? It was far crazier, when they went out and had duels. Let the process continue. Seriously, what does congress ever do that is of any value? As long as they are not doing anything, they can’t hurt us worse.

      Better they run around like chickens with their heads cut off, than voting for more inflation; more cultural perversion causing lifelong damage to children.

  4. RIGHT on Robin!

    All aspects of your write is very well said and most importantly it does look dysfunctional since most Americans are not in the political weeds as you say!! Marxist DemoRATS having a heyday with this!!! RATS stick together and are very well organized!!! Get the picture GOP? You still haven’t learned and you are in the same house on the hill- Pitiful display GOP!.

  5. Jeanntte Jones says

    The “20” don’t have the numbers to win. The Reagan Principle is if they are 80% with your standard then they are not 20% traitors. Mc Carthy definitely is 80%. These people are just hate Mc Carthy and is embarrassing all Republicans with their actions. They will pay a big price for their conduct in 2024.

  6. Rottweiler says

    The reason they don’t support him is that he will eventually morph into useless Mitch where he panders to the leftists, and we are sick of this or at least I am personally. Had high hopes for Paul Ryan and what a dud he turned out to be. No sense in putting someone in that position that will eventually be ineffective, siding with the Progressives and becoming virtually flacid. Just look at all of the RHINOS that run the show and they should be run out permanently.

  7. Robin,

    No one was listening back in November. You might answer why McCarthy is not trusted? Trump has been wrong before, remember the slew (slough?) of worthless traitors he brought on as Cabinet, most of which were deep statists pretending to want to drain the swamp. Don’t get fooled again with the say one thing and do another with the usual distain for the public. It is all about power of the entrenched that needs to change. If not now, when?

  8. Shari Goodman says

    Evidently McCarthy is supported by Big Tech lobbyists and he has used his position to defeat America First candidates in primaries by throwing his weight behind Deep State candidates throughout the country. One of those who was defeated with Kevin’s help was Laura Loomer in Florida. Her opponent who won just voted for Kevin. We need fighters who are not part of the Uniparty. The 20 holdouts are freedom fighters who want Congress wrestled away from the special interests who now control both parties. They are shaped in the same mold as America’s previous freedom fighters. These are unusual times and once again we must back those that seek to restore the People’s House and not the House of Special Interests.

  9. This is democracy in action. Republicans are proving that a 100% party run by a Pied Piper may look good, right up until they ALL end up in the ocean. McCarthy needs to stand up in front of his piers and PROMISE to God and Country to support the many restorative legislations that their voters have been pleading for, for decades. It will not be easy. The omnipotent Swamp awaits their attempts.

  10. Dr. Trent Saxton says

    He’s from a BLUE State, he can’t be a real Conservative Republican

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