Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) made four additional concessions to the 20 conservative holdouts before Thursday’s prolonged speakership vote.
The compromises, negotiated Wednesday night between McCarthy and his doubters, are intended to entice several members to leave the group of 20 holdouts. McCarthy requires the support of 16 legislators to split with the so-called “rebels.”
McCarthy made considerable compromises. According to Axios and Politico Playbook:
- Instead of five members, a single member motion is required to trigger a vote to remove a speaker.
- More Members of the House Freedom Caucus serve on the House Rules Committee (two seats).
- Promises to arrange votes on term limit and border security legislation.
- Major changes to the budget process to avoid another omnibus package by allowing any congressman to present floor amendments.
Furthermore, the McCarthy-aligned super PAC Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF) promised not to spend money in Republican primary campaigns against GOP candidates in open districts, as its affiliates had done in numerous races in the 2022 midterm elections.
These concessions are in addition to 10 other previously negotiated agreements between GOP groups.
It is unclear whether the concessions will persuade the remaining 16 members to endorse McCarthy.
According to critics of the compromises, leadership has not always kept its commitments. In times of political crisis, House rules are frequently suspended. Others contended that the CLF’s guarantee is unenforceable since other means exist to direct funds to favored candidates.
McCarthy’s concessions, however, are considerable and have fulfilled the demands of many conservative lawmakers. He stated on Wednesday that he was pleased with the progress of the discussions.
“I thought we had a really wonderful discussion. I believe that being able to cast that adjournment vote indicates that the conversations are progressing and will continue. That doesn’t mean they’re finished or anything,” he told reporters.
The House will continue to vote until a speaker is elected. According to Playbook, several members have recommended deferring future votes until next week to give them more time to negotiate. Others have argued against it.
“It would be incredibly awful optics for us to go without a speaker,” a Republican legislator told the magazine.