(WASHINGTON) — Republicans are facing a leadership drama as they take control of the House Tuesday.
After the 118th Congress convenes at noon, the first order of House business will be the election of a new speaker — and current Republican leader Kevin McCarthy could be stymied by a group of hardliners demanding concessions.
Because the GOP holds only a slim majority, a small number of defections could stop McCarthy from gaining the office he’s long sought.
Here’s how the story is developing. All times Eastern:
Jan 03, 8:52 AM EST
GOP conference to hold last-minute meeting before speaker vote
The House Republican conference will meet behind closed doors at 9:30 a.m., just hours before the speaker vote begins at noon.
While McCarthy might be able to garner more support in a last-ditch appeal, his detractors have boasted that they’ll be able to muster the necessary opposition to block his bid.
Rep. Scott Perry, the chair of the House Freedom Caucus who is leading the group of hard-line conservatives opposing McCarthy’s bid, released a new statement Tuesday morning blasting the California congressman.
“In his 14 years in Republican Leadership, McCarthy has repeatedly failed to demonstrate any desire to meaningfully change the status quo in Washington,” Perry said.
Jan 03, 8:36 AM EST
McCarthy’s rise from California politics to GOP leader
Kevin McCarthy began his career as a staffer to then-Rep. Bill Thomas before chairing the California Young Republicans and later the Young Republican National Federation.
He was first elected to office in 2002, serving in the California state Assembly until 2007, when was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. At the time, he was dubbed one of the “young guns” of the next generation of conservative leadership.
McCarthy tried to become speaker in 2015 but his chance evaporated after resistance from the same kind of conservatives who are trying to block his path Tuesday. When Democrats took control of the House in 2018, McCarthy was elected House minority leader.
Jan 03, 8:26 AM EST
McCarthy’s bid for speaker unclear as new Congress set to begin
Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s bid to become the next speaker of the House is still clouded in uncertainty as lawmakers head to Capitol Hill for the first day of the 118th Congress.
McCarthy and his staffers spent the day Monday setting up the speaker’s office but he may have to move his belongings out if he fails to clinch the votes needed to secure the position.
A few dozen members piled into McCarthy’s office throughout the day Monday to go over last-minute strategy. ABC News spotted three McCarthy critics during the afternoon meeting: Reps. Matt Gaetz, Lauren Boebert and Scott Perry.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a McCarthy supporter, told ABC News Congressional Correspondent Rachel Scott, “the problem is the people need to realize the art of the deal. They are all Trump supporters, and you can’t be successful if you’re not willing to take the wins when you get them” when asked about those in her party who are trying to tank McCarthy’s bid.
Rep. Jim Jordan, whose name has been floated around as a potential speaker candidate, said he believes McCarthy “can get there.”
McCarthy, however, didn’t directly answer reporter’s questions about how the vote could go, telling them, “I hope you all have a very nice New Year’s” as he exited the Capitol on Monday night.
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