The Republican leaders in the House and Senate clashed this week amid efforts to push through a nearly $1.7 trillion stopgap spending measure ahead of the upcoming holiday recess.
While Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) believes that the massive omnibus legislation is a necessary evil, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has vowed to oppose the bill in his chamber.
Despite the dispute, McConnell is unequivocally backing his House counterpart’s campaign to become the next speaker.
A number of right-wing House Republicans are opposed to McCarthy’s leadership bid amid complaints that he did not do enough to support conservative candidates in midterm primary races.
In a statement earlier this week, McConnell asserted: “I’m pulling for Kevin. I hope he makes it.”
Although McCarthy is the clear frontrunner to replace House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in the upcoming legislative session, it remains unclear whether he will be able to rally the required 218 votes in a narrowly divided chamber when lawmakers vote early next month.
Nevertheless, he continues to exude confidence that he will ultimately emerge victorious, using his current leadership position to elaborate on his party’s plans upon regaining a House majority.
Agreed. Except no need to whip—when I’m Speaker, their bills will be dead on arrival in the House if this nearly $2T monstrosity is allowed to move forward over our objections and the will of the American people. https://t.co/WCC477R4IM
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) December 20, 2022
It remains to be seen whether the support of McConnell, who is seen by some conservative lawmakers as an impediment to their cause, will help or hurt McCarthy as he struggles to rally his own party behind him.
After former President Donald Trump came out in support of the House GOP leader’s speakership bid, even some of his most loyal acolytes — including Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Lauren Boebert (R-CO) — spoke out against him.
For his part, Gaetz reiterated his “love” for Trump but asserted that the former president is not infallible when it comes to selecting leaders.
“It was sort of a parade of horribles with some of the people he chose inside of Washington, D.C., so maybe we ought to have a choice come out of the House that represents the conservative center of our caucus,” he explained. “I’ll be for Trump for president but I will not follow him in supporting Kevin McCarthy for Speaker.”
At least one prominent House conservative is actively campaigning on McCarthy’s behalf, though.
In a recent op-ed, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) wrote: “Perhaps more than any Republican, I am ready for our majority because I believe there is real work to be done to save our country. And the last thing I want is everything blown up on day one simply because a few dislike Kevin McCarthy, who is promoting the very agenda they believe in.”