House Freedom Caucus Chairman Scott Perry (R-PA) rejected the bid of House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) for Speaker of the House, Breitbart reported. Since then, four separate votes for the position have failed to go McCarthy's way.
Republicans are beginning the new Congress with a majority in the House of Representatives after the midterm elections. However, the divisions within the party are as pronounced as ever.
Although McCarthy would be the logical choice given his current position, his adversaries continue to block him from taking the gavel. "We’ve worked in good faith for months to change the status quo," Perry explained in a written statement ahead of Tuesday's first vote.
"At nearly every turn, we’ve been sidelined or resisted by McCarthy, and any perceived progress has often been vague or contained loopholes that further amplified concerns as to the sincerity of the promises being made," Perry explained. "In his 14 years in Republican Leadership, McCarthy has repeatedly failed to demonstrate any desire to meaningfully change the status quo in Washington," the Pennsylvania Republican went on.
"Despite our deep reservations, we have continued to work in earnest to find a path forward with McCarthy, knowing that this crucial moment would come," Perry explained. "On New Year’s Eve, at the 11th Hour, after dragging his feet for months, McCarthy presented a vague ultimatum lacking in specifics and substance," Perry added.
"In an attempt to flesh out and add substance to his ultimatum and our many discussions, we approached McCarthy with an offer to get him to 218 votes. He declined," Perry said.
"While he claimed to offer fair and equal representation for conservatives on all House committees when we provided specific names willing to serve on each – as he requested – he balked," he continued. "We asked for firm commitments on concrete policies for the benefit of the American People," Perry said.
"When asked to promise votes on (1) a balanced budget, (2) the Fair Tax Act, (3) the Texas Border Plan, and (4) term limits for Members of Congress, he refused," Perry explained. "We requested transparent, accountable votes on individual earmarks that would require two-thirds support to pass, and to ensure that all amendments to cut spending would be allowed floor consideration.
"He dismissed it," Perry went on. "We demanded that he cease his efforts to defeat competitive conservative candidates in open Republican primaries."
"He denied it," Perry said. "Kevin McCarthy had an opportunity to be Speaker of the House. He rejected it," Perry concluded.
This lack of backing has left McCarthy to find his own votes, which so far is failing. The lawmaker failed in his fourth and fifth votes Wednesday, with 20 conservatives still holding out against him, the Associated Press reported.
McCarthy could not muster the 218 votes required to become House Speaker meaning another vote will be required. Until the position is filled, the business of Congress will remain on hold.
There is no clear replacement for former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a fact that Democrats relish. "I just think it’s really embarrassing it’s taking so long," President Joe Biden said.
The Republican Party is divided between the old-guard GOP and the newer conservatives. Regardless of who ultimately becomes the lower chamber's leader, those problems will likely persist long after.