WASHINGTON. Austin Republican Chip Roy said Friday that talk of a deal between him and Kevin McCarthy in the ongoing speaker’s deadlock is premature.
McCarthy briefed the GOP conference on the call before the House of Representatives met at noon on the fourth voting day after he had lost 11 rounds since Tuesday.
Until a speaker is chosen, none of the members elected in November, including those who won re-election, can be sworn in. Until then, they are not formally representatives and the Chamber cannot conduct any other business.
Congressional reporters tweeted that McCarthy announced the deal with Roy while speaking with fellow Republicans in the House of Representatives. But Roy, the leader of the 20 opponents, said not so fast.
“He didn’t say that,” Roy wrote on Twitter. “And any agreement will take us ALL. We’re making progress… but don’t let the sharks throw off the current engagement.”
Whether or not he made a deal with Roy and other opponents, it is unlikely that McCarthy will have enough votes to become Speaker before next week.
Florida’s Matt Gaetz and several other GOP opponents have made it clear that no amount of concessions will get them to accept McCarthy.
And several members who supported McCarthy will miss Friday’s session, including newly elected Texan Wesley Hunt, who has returned to Houston to be with his wife and their newborn.
“This has been a challenging week for the American people and for my family,” Hunt wrote on Twitter. “A few days ago my wife Emily gave birth to our son Willy, who was born prematurely and spent some time in the neonatal intensive care unit.”
He said his son is otherwise healthy but, like any premature baby, there are “medical issues”. His wife also returned to the hospital due to non-life-threatening complications.
“Willy needs his father, and Emily needs her husband,” Hunt wrote. “Today I will return home to hold my son and be close to my wife. I intend to get back into action as soon as possible.”
Roy and other conservatives pushed for changes to the rules of the House of Representatives to give them more influence on the course of legislation. They warn that even when the Democrats are out of power, GOP leaders will follow the old pattern of cracking down on the party’s right in spending and other measures.
McCarthy has made a long list of concessions since the GOP won a disappointingly narrow five-seat majority in November.
After repeated defeats this week, he even agreed to allow any individual member to call a sort of no-confidence vote that could be used to remove the speaker — a position he insisted on Thursday is nothing to be afraid of, but congressional experts say would hamper the speaker. , putting him at the mercy of any marginal dissident.
Other concessions include commitments to vote on term limits and include more Conservatives on the powerful Rules Committee, which controls which amendments can be considered during debate.
McCarthy-linked GAC leaders will also stay out of Republican primaries in safe red areas, responding to conservative complaints that party bosses have intervened to protect candidates from the establishment.
McCarthy did not win the required majority on 11 ballots until Thursday evening.
In addition to exposing tensions within the Republican Party in the House of Representatives, the stalemate has raised questions about whether congressional aides will be paid. Some executive branch offices have told elected members that they cannot respond to requests for voter assistance until they are sworn in.
The IRS Taxpayer Protection Service, for example, sent mixed messages. After initially informing some elected members that they could not respond to inquiries, the agency clarified that staff can and should continue to work on existing congressional cases and process new ones.
But the IRS said it could not pass taxpayer information to House offices “pending the swearing-in of members or future directions providing for a workaround.”
Friday’s vote came as Congress marks the two-year anniversary of the attack on the Capitol on January 6th.
Houston’s Dan Crenshaw was among the Republicans who criticized the opponents, saying they were preventing Congress from addressing important issues such as border security.
“This is the ultimate disservice to the American people,” Crenshaw said on Fox News.
All week Crenshaw vowed not to support anyone but McCarthy as speaker because “we can’t let the terrorists win.”
In his podcast, Sen. Ted Cruz, D-Tex., defended Roy, his first chief of staff, when he took office ten years ago.
Cruz defended Roy for focusing on important goals and budget cut rules rather than personalities.
And Cruise dismissed suggestions that the high drama had embarrassed the party, chiding Crenshaw for his choice of words.
“It will work and everything will be fine,” Cruz said. “This kind of heated rhetoric calling people terrorists is not very conducive to anything resembling republican unity. This is not conducive to having a strong leadership in the House of Representatives dealing with biting and personal attacks for the next two years.”