Republicans nominated House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., to be House speaker when the GOP seized control in January.
But it’s unclear whether McCarthy can win the vote to become speaker. McCarthy has made subtle promises over the past few days that could help him become speaker. McCarthy demanded that Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Meyerkas resign or face possible impeachment during his visit to the southern border. McCarthy also promised that “next year, Republicans will begin each day of Congress with prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance. No exceptions.”
Republicans can adopt whatever rules they want as it relates to House operations when the GOP claims control in January. But the House routinely opens each session with a prayer and a pledge. Indeed, House Rule XIV states that “the daily order of business … shall be as follows: First. Prayer by the clergy. Second. Reading and approval of the Journal, unless adjourned under Clause 8 of Rule XX.” Third: Loyalty to the Pledge of Allegiance.”
Of course, Republicans could always change the rule to ensure that “journal approval” doesn’t interfere with the prayer and pledge. But this is very rare.
McCarthy calls on Meyerkas to resign or face possible impeachment inquiry: ‘Enough is enough’
This indicates that McCarthy is doing everything he can to get enough votes to become speaker. Promising to bounce Reps. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and Eric Swailwell, D-Calif., from the committees. A gesture of impeachment to quench the hunger for justice on the border. An appeal to religious conservatives.
It can work. But so far, the math isn’t in McCarthy’s favor when floor votes come in January. Reps. Ralph Norman, R-C., Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., Matt Rosendale, R-Mont., Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., and Bob Good, R-Va., are unlikely to support McCarthy. . There may be enough votes there to sink McCarthy’s bid for Gavel.
But if not McCarthy, who?
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La.? House Republican Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik, RNY? Representative and incoming House Majority Whip Tom Emmer, R-Minn.? Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio? Rep. Patrick McHenry, RNC?
It wasn’t that long ago that McCarthy was slated to replace former House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, as speaker. And then former Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc. took the job – despite an adamant claim a few weeks earlier that he didn’t want the gig.
There have been several times over the past 15 to 20 years that the next GOP leader or House speaker was supposed to be former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va. Cantor lost his primary. Former Rep. Tom Reynolds, RN.Y. He was considered a possible successor to former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill. Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Tex., tinkered with a leadership bid a few years ago.
Other names that have crossed paths: Rep. Daniel Webster, R-Fla., and former Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah.
This brings us to one of my most enduring theses about Congress. Who gets in or out of Congress leadership positions depends on “particle” politics. In other words, infinite, minute, subatomic political particles decide who emerges as Congress leader. It was hard to see how McCarthy would not become Speaker seven years ago. Despite this, he did not claim Deol. It was hard to see how Ryan would be speaker in 2015. Yet he did it.
At the moment, McCarthy is the favorite to become House Speaker on January 3 next year. But McCarthy lacks the votes — until now. Thus, does anyone else actually become a speaker through means that are still unclear?
Ilhan Omar, Eric Sowell hit back at McCarthy’s promise to block him from House committees
All this is because of “particle politics”.
A similar phenomenon emerged on the Democratic side of the aisle to succeed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., as party leader.
The rise to Pelosi’s success is a Washington parlor game that has been played for years. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., and House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-C. helped Pelosi create a three-legged stool representing all wings of the House Democratic caucus. In other words, if you lower one of the legs, the stool falls. It was often thought that once Pelosi was gone, all three would be gone. The same thing happened with Pelosi and Hoyer stepping down from their leadership roles. Clyburn remains — but with a lower-profile leadership role.
But knowing who would succeed Pelosi was a mystery that lasted for a decade and a half.
Pelosi and Hoyer have had a rivalry dating back to the 1960s when they worked together in the office of the late Senator Daniel Brewster, DMD. Pelosi often blocked Hoyer’s leadership bids. Pelosi endorsed the late Rep. Jack Murtha, D-Penn., for majority leader in 2006. Yet Hoyer prevailed. And Hoyer will not directly challenge Pelosi for the Democrats’ top leadership post. Hoyer lacked the votes and would lose. Over the years, however, Republicans have privately acknowledged that they fear Hoyer as speaker more than Pelosi. That’s because of Hoyer’s stellar reputation for working across the aisle and not presenting the GOP with a liberal veneer.
But that opportunity never came for Hoyer. Or Clyburn, for that matter.
There was even a time several years ago when some factions in the Democratic caucus thought former Rep. Jane Harmon, D-Calif., might pose a threat to Pelosi. The two had a cold relationship for years. Harman never challenged Pelosi.
Nor was Harman tall enough to overtake Pelosi, if the opportunity arose.
Meanwhile, speculation swirled for years as Pelosi launched a series of other Democratic lieutenants who were eager to succeed her — but never got the chance because of the speaker’s longevity.
First in line are the current ambassador to Japan and the former mayor of Chicago, the White House chief of staff and Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill. But after helping Democrats win control of the House by chairing the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) in 2006 and becoming chairman of the Democratic Caucus, former President Obama tapped Emanuel to serve as his chief of staff. Drafted.
Next came Senator Chris Van Hollen, DMD. Van Hollen was in the House at the time but eventually moved to the Senate.
For a while, the focus was on former Rep. Steve Israel, DN.Y. was diverted to. He was followed by current Health and Human Services Secretary and former Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif. Rep. Joe Crowley, DN.Y. It included But Crowley – like Cantor – ultimately lost his primary to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, DN.Y.
The chef may have been Pelosi’s latest potential successor. In fact, Schiff launched a not-so-stealth campaign to potentially succeed Pelosi. Several House Democrats told Fox that Schiff would not have launched such an effort unless he had express or implied blessing from Pelosi. That’s partly because Pelosi and Schiff have always enjoyed a special relationship. That was on display when Pelosi tasked Schiff with serving as lead manager during former President Trump’s first impeachment trial. Schiff heads the Intelligence Committee. The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee has traditionally been the lead “prosecutor” in such impeachment proceedings. Not the Chairman of the Intelligence Committee.
However, Schiff ultimately lacked the votes to succeed Pelosi. and House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries, DN.Y. has wrapped up the deal with praise for Pelosi’s accomplishments.
This is remarkable. Just two hours before Pelosi announced her retirement from leadership, Jeffries didn’t really answer your question about whether she had “any plans in the drawer” to campaign for the top Democratic leadership post. “.
This is why it comes down to “particle politics”.
No one would have predicted the circumstances years ago that Jeffries would be the one to replace Pelosi — when all the attention was on Emanuel or Van Hollen.
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Those who rise to leadership positions boil down to hard work. A little bit of magic. A bit of luck. And really good timing.
Kevin McCarthy is now going again for Gayle. Rarely does one get a second chance at a top leadership position like the Speaker. But this is the opportunity that has now come McCarthy’s way.
But McCarthy’s fate depends on the subatomic, political particles now swirling around the political supercollider.