The GOP lawmakers blasting anti-Kevin McCarthy fringe helped bankroll their campaigns
Republicans backing McCarthy in his troubled bid to become speaker of the House are losing patience with members of their own caucus as the vote drags on.
House Republicans who back California Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s troubled candidacy to be speaker of the House are publicly attacking the 21 members of their own caucus who are refusing to vote for him. But many of the same people who now compare their anti-McCarthy colleagues to terrorists and hostage-takers donated to the same critics as recently as the 2022 midterm election cycle.
Since the current congressional session began on Tuesday, the House of Representatives has held six votes on who will serve as House speaker for the 118th Congress. The body cannot consider any legislation or other business — or even formally swear in its members — until a speaker is elected.
Though Republicans hold a narrow 222-212 majority, no candidate has been able to get the 218 votes needed to be elected speaker. Between 19 and 21 Republicans have withheld their votes from McCarthy each time by supporting another Republican or voting “present,” leaving Democratic Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries with a plurality only a few votes shy of the threshold.
McCarthy has reportedly offered major concessions to the far-right lawmakers who have voted for other candidates, such as seats on powerful committees and changes to House rules, but still lacked a majority for a seventh vote on Thursday afternoon.
New York Republican Rep. Nicole Malliotakis said on Thursday that the anti-McCarthy “obstructionists” in her caucus were harming the government. “Those 10% who are holding out are really hurting the entire institution that is trying to move forward here and govern, do what the American people elected us to do,” she told CNBC.
“This 10% is hijacking us,” she added. “You’re a business channel, look at it this way: In what company, what corporation do 10% of the individuals, whether it’s the board of directors or the shareholders, dictate what is happening in that company? So we can’t allow them to win this.”
An American Independent Foundation review of campaign finance disclosures from Malliotakis’ No Nonsense PAC revealed that it contributed $1,000 in September to the campaign of Arizona Rep. Eli Crane, who has voted against McCarthy all six times.
Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw told Fox News Radio on Wednesday that his party should not back anyone but McCarthy: “We cannot let the terrorists win. That’s basically what’s happening.”
Crenshaw’s America Reloaded leadership PAC gave Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-IN) $2,500 in September 2021. After voting for McCarthy in the first few rounds on Tuesday, she switched to voting “present” on Wednesday afternoon.
Spartz also received $1,000 that December from the Bold Active Conservatives Of Nebraska (BACON) PAC, the leadership PAC of Nebraska Rep. Don Bacon. Bacon tweeted Tuesday, “No, the 10% fringe don’t represent the GOP and most Americans,” and told CBS News Wednesday: “They are hurting the team. … They went too far; they are trying to fulfill their self-interests.”
Florida Rep. Mike Waltz complained on Wednesday, “The Republican agenda is being held hostage.” His Warrior Diplomat PAC contributed $2,900 last August to Florida Rep. Anna Paulina Luna, who has voted against making McCarthy speaker at every opportunity.
Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene has also denounced the faction, telling reporters on Tuesday: “There’s not going to be a tiny little group that is going to demand their way because they want subcommittee chairs, and they want certain power positions. That is not how this works, and that is the worst thing they could do for the country. And I’m furious over it, and I’m gonna continue calling them out.”
Greene’s Save America Stop Socialism leadership PAC gave a total of $5,400 to Illinois Rep. Mary Miller and $2,500 to Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar in the 2022 campaign cycle. Both have voted against McCarthy in all six rounds.
Punchbowl News reported Thursday that Republicans expect the process of choosing a speaker to take until at least next week.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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