House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) warned on Sunday that the small but mighty chorus of MAGA-aligned holdouts opposing his speakership bid could squander the slim majority House Republicans have if they don’t come together with the rest of the caucus and support him.
“Right now, it’s actually delaying our ability to govern as we go,” McCarthy said on Fox News. “So I’m hopeful that everybody comes together, finds a way to govern together. This is what the American people want. Otherwise, we will be squandering this majority.”
McCarthy said that he “spent hours” meeting with the members of the House Freedom Caucus. But five MAGA-infused conservative members — including Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Rep. Bob Good (R-VA), Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-MT) and Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC) — have publicly said they will not support McCarthy’s speakership bid.
In his most desperate bid to get the detractors in line yet, McCarthy not only pulled the slim-majority card, but he also listed off a bunch of the Freedom Caucus’ favorite shiny objects that might be under threat if they don’t support his speakership bid.
“If people don’t come along, that’s going to delay our ability to secure the border,” McCarthy added. “That’s going to delay our ability to become energy independent. That’s going to delay our ability to repeal 87,000 IRS agents. That’s going to delay our ability to hold government accountable. There’s no subpoena that can go out until that gets done.”
McCarthy has been insisting he has the votes he needs to win his speakership bid. But he is walking a thin line as the five conservatives can hold a significant sway in the new House where the GOP holds the majority with a tight margin. If McCarthy loses more than four Republican votes in the election scheduled for January 3, he will likely fall under the 218 votes he needs to become the new House leader.
“I think everybody is respected in the House, regardless of where you are,” McCarthy said Sunday morning. “We have got to remember, we’re going to sit at 222 members, so any five members can hold us up for achieving. I respect all.”