The consequences will deal a significant blow to public confidence in an already polarized House of Representatives. But Roy and his allies say that confidence has already been lost. The main driver of their dissatisfaction with the leadership is the party’s poor performance in last year’s midterm elections, despite near-universal predictions that the year will be a knockout. Roy said the weak election results were the call of voters fed up with a Congress unable to put radical conservative priorities on immigration, energy and competitiveness with China in place.
“Are you calling for unity? How about uniting around something meaningful? Like having a House of Representatives and a group of Republicans in a conference that came together to actually stand up for the people and do what we promised we would do when we got here?” he said.
During the November internal party caucus, Roy nominated fellow right-wing member Andy Biggs, R-Arizona, as Speaker, and Rep. Michael Cloud, D-V, backed the nomination. The majority of the caucus still voted for McCarthy at the caucus. This was not the first time Roy had veered off course during his party’s leadership election. After Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming, was ousted from the No. 3 Republican seat in the House of Representatives in 2021, Roy lashed out to challenge Rep. Elise Stefanik, a New Yorker loyal to former President Donald Trump, for the seat. Roy was sharply rebuked by the former president, and he lost the all-party bid by a wide margin.
Roy also has a history of fighting legislation with tactics that his colleagues have denounced as onerous, including forcing a lengthy roll call streak on a $1 trillion 2019 spending package that extended the transition into the early hours of the morning. He is armed with an encyclopedic knowledge of legislative procedure from his tenure as Chief of Staff to Senator Ted Cruz.
But unlike the party’s November caucus, Tuesday’s vote will include the entire House, and Democrats will likely vote against it. If he can’t get more members of his party to support him, he won’t have the 218-vote majority needed to win.
Since then, McCarthy has struggled to win the support of his remaining opponents, meeting with Roy and other members of the Freedom Caucus to discuss their complaints about the way Congress works. Over the weekend, McCarthy proposed changing the rules to meet several conservative demands, including lowering the membership threshold required for a vote of no confidence in the speaker to five members. Roy and the rest of the Freedom Caucus insisted on allowing only one member to hold a vote that could force out the Speaker.
“The argument is very simple: should a member of the body make a movement, and then the body performs this movement?” Roy said last month. “That’s the question.”
It was one of the biggest concessions McCarthy could make, and one he was especially slow to make. Further lowering the threshold would mean two years of huge leverage over his opponents in a party that already has serious philosophical differences over major political priorities, including public funding and continued aid to Ukraine.
Several Texas Republicans, including ardent conservatives, say McCarthy is the only member with support and political capital to lead the party for the next two years, when the Republicans have a paltry three-seat majority.
“Leader McCarthy has led us to a majority and is the only one who can unite the party to hold the Biden administration accountable for its failures at home and abroad,” Rep. Michael McCall, R-Austin State, tweeted ahead of the GOP leadership election.
“I will always fight to put the American people first, not a few people who want something for themselves,” McCarthy told reporters Tuesday after the GOP’s final caucus on Tuesday ahead of a new Congress.
Roy and Cloud are the only Republicans from Texas who actively opposed McCarthy’s presidential mandate at the November caucuses.
McCarthy and Roy saw some agreement in their vehement opposition to the $1.7 trillion omnibus bill that was passed last December to fund the government before the end of the fiscal year. The package was a detailed list of everything Roy hates in Washington — the more than 4,000-page legislation covered hundreds of priorities, mostly discussed behind closed doors, and included continued funding to help Ukraine — an issue dividing House Republicans opposed by Roy and other conservatives.
House Republicans opposed the measure with a relatively united front. Fort Worth Rep. Kay Granger, the House’s chief negotiator for Republican appropriations, withdrew from the talks over objections to the amount of non-defense spending.
The deal eventually became an agreement between Democrats and Republicans in the Senate, with Senator John Cornyn, D-Tex., announcing that it would help Texas with a 10% increase in defense spending, increased border patrol, a proposal for funding to aid agriculture in connection with drought and investing in grants. fight school violence. Cornyn was the only Texas Republican in Congress to vote for the package.
But Roy’s objections went further. He and 30 other Republicans in or in the House of Representatives vowed to reject any priorities put forward by Senate Republicans who voted for a comprehensive package, writing in a letter to the upper house that “For at least nine months, this omnibus will reject incoming Republican Party suppresses any leverage to make important policy changes needed to secure our border with the power of the wallet.”
Roy and the rest of the Freedom Caucus are demanding that the new Republican leadership completely abandon voluminous legislative packages such as the omnibus. The bills, which could run for thousands of pages, are littered with priorities that lawmakers couldn’t possibly sift through, they argue, and that never see the light of day in House debates. McCarthy’s proposal for the rules includes a measure that would require members to lead bills to one subject, but does not have strict controls.
“We therefore reiterate that if any omnibus is passed in the remaining days of this Congress, we will oppose and suppress opposition to any legislative priority of those senators who vote to pass it, including the Republican leader,” they wrote. “We will oppose any rule, any request for assent, suspension of vote, or roll call on any such Senate bill and will otherwise do everything in our power to thwart even the slightest legislative and political efforts of these senators.”
Representatives Randy Weber, R-Friendswood, and Ronnie Jackson, R-Amarillo also signed the letter, as did outgoing representatives Louis Gohmert, R-Tyler, and Myra Flores, R-Los Indios. Rep.-elect Keith Self, R-Plano, also signed on.
McCarthy has declared his support for the effort, tweet last month that “when I am Speaker, their bills will be dead upon arrival in the House of Representatives if this nearly $2 trillion monster is allowed to move forward despite our objections and the will of the American people.”
But for all of McCarthy’s concessions to the right wing, he still hasn’t managed to attract enough members to win a comfortable majority by voting time on Tuesday. After he unveiled his rule proposals, nine Republicans in the House of Representatives, including Roy, released a statement on New Year’s Day that the proposals did not go far enough to allay their concerns, although they did make progress.
“At this stage, it is not surprising that expressions of vague hope, reflected in too many key points still being discussed, are not enough,” members said. “This is especially true of Mr. McCarthy’s candidacy for Speaker because the times call for a radical departure from the status quo, not a continuation of past and ongoing Republican failures.”
Freedom Caucus Chairman Scott Perry, PA, said Tuesday morning in a statement that McCarthy denied the group’s request for a promised vote on the Texas Republican border security plan, balancing the budget, phasing out IRS funding and term limits for Congress.
Other rules put forward by McCarthy include stopping proxy voting and setting the stage for new investigations into the Biden administration and committee on Jan. 6, but McCarthy has been stating his intention to do so for months. The Californian also described several of Freedom Caucus’s demands as largely self-serving, including the assignment of drain committees to group members.
Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Massachusetts, who chaired the House Rules Committee in the last Congress, lamented McCarthy’s proposal because it targets public employees and forgoes adjustments made to make the House more practical during the pandemic.
“Republican leaders have once again given in to the most extremist members of their own caucus by allowing the far right to hold a new speaker hostage,” McGovern said in a statement. “The American people have elected a divided government because they want us to put the people above politics and operate bipartisanly rather than empower extremists who are not interested in working together to achieve a goal.”