Just this Tuesday Republicans announces that McCarthy, Scalise and Emmer will take leadership roles in the 118th US Congress. This comes despite not managing to gain the proper number of members to assume a majority.
Several contentious contests were determined during an hours-long secret ballot voting session, including a three-way fight for whip between Indiana Representative Jim Banks, Minnesota Representative Tom Emmer, and Georgia Representative Drew Ferguson.
On the second vote count, Emmer prevailed over his competitors, gaining the position that will be critical to the anticipated razor-thin Republican majority.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California fended off a challenge from Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona and is on track to become the next speaker, provided he can get the necessary votes during a floor vote in January.
Following an unopposed campaign for the No. 2 position, Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the House GOP whip since 2014, will become Republican leader.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the Associated Press has called 217 races for House Republicans, even as the House GOP voted behind closed doors for its leaders, falling short of the 218 needed to control the house.
With Democrats controlling at least 206 seats, a Republican majority would be exceptionally slim, making it imperative that the party’s leadership strike a compromise between the interests of conservative and moderate members.
McCarthy, Scalise and Emmer are gearing up to take control of a deeply divided Congress.
Support Is Coming in Slow
McCarthy earned the majority of Republican votes necessary to become their candidate during Tuesday’s party elections, but numerous members of the party’s right-wing opted for Biggs, indicating McCarthy lacks the necessary support to become speaker.
According to a person familiar with the matter who was not permitted to talk publicly about the results of the closed-door, secret ballot election, the vote total was 188-31.
McCarthy said after the vote that he is certain he would have the necessary votes to become speaker and that he has no intention of seeking Democratic support.
McCarthy said that governing with a slim majority would be difficult. McCarthy, Scalise and Emmer will have to work together, if they are to keep control of the house.
“We are aware that our task will not be simple,” McCarthy said, adding that Republicans will need to collaborate.
McCarthy’s election as speaker would culminate years of rising the ranks of the House Republican Conference and jockeying for the job, beginning in 2011 when he was appointed whip and concluding in July 2014 when he was named Republican leader.
Scalise expressed his eagerness to introduce legislation addressing inflation, border security, crime rates, and education.
Scalise said at a news conference on Tuesday evening, “We’re going to make Congress work again — not just by banning proxy voting, but also by having committees meet in person again to discuss issues that are essential to hard-working Americans who are suffering under this Biden agenda.”
As majority leader, Scalise would control the floor calendar and conduct a weekly colloquy with the opposition whip to review the next week’s floor agenda and engage in short policy discussions. Scalise has served in this capacity for the Republicans for many years, often clashing with Maryland Democrat and current majority leader Rep. Steny Hoyer.
A Victory for McCarthy, Scalise, and Emmer?
Emmer earned the necessary votes to become the next House GOP whip, beating Banks of Indiana and Ferguson of Georgia. The first ballot vote totals were 82 for Banks, 72 for Emmer, and 71 for Ferguson, which eliminated him from the further vote count. Emmer defeated Banks on the second ballot, 115 to 106.
Emmer moved to America. He was chosen as head of the National Republican Congressional Committee for both the 116th Congress and the current Congress in 2015. In addition to being a member of the deputy whip team and the House Republican Steering Committee, Emmer is on the House Financial Services Committee.
Emmer said during a news conference after the voting that he is “thrilled to be in the majority.” McCarthy, Scalise and Emmer all share this sentiment.
“We will be the sole check on the Biden administration for the next two years in a Democratic-controlled Senate,” Emmer added.
Following a 144-74 vote, Florida Representative Byron Donalds failed in his quest to replace New York Representative Elise Stefanik as Republican conference chair.
Richard Hudson of North Carolina was elected chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, the political arm of the House Republicans. His Tuesday election was unopposed.
Rep. Mike Simpson of Idaho said prior to the start of voting that it would be tough for Republicans to govern the House with their anticipated slim majority, but he believes that legislators will eventually come together.
“When I was first elected in 1999, we had a five-vote majority,” Simpson said. “It’s incredible how much we were able to do with a five-vote majority because we recognized we must work together or nothing would be done. And it will transpire.”
Sen. Scott Makes Stride for Leadership
U.S. Senate Republicans were scheduled to have uncontested leadership elections on Wednesday, but Florida Sen. Rick Scott started a campaign against Mitch McConnell on Tuesday afternoon, after the failure of Republicans to seize the majority from Democrats. Even before a runoff on December 6 in Georgia, Democrats are currently predicted to control at least 50 Senate seats.
It was initially unclear if the Senate GOP Conference would postpone the vote for majority leader now that competition exists.
Scott tweeted a link to a Fox News item stating that he stated in a letter, which was issued Tuesday afternoon when the Senate GOP was meeting behind closed doors, that he feels “it’s time for the Senate Republican Conference to be significantly more courageous and determined than in the past.”
Scott added, “Regardless of who we pick as Republican Leader, I think we should approach this like a job interview and require everyone competing for a leadership position in our conference to be candid and explain why they deserve our support.”
Scott was among a number of Republican senators who sought to defer the vote until after the Georgia Senate runoff election. However, no one had publicly indicated they would challenge McConnell for the position of minority leader until Tuesday afternoon.
The Kentucky Republican became the party’s Senate leader in 2007 and has stayed in that position ever since, serving as minority leader for five Congresses and majority leader for three sessions. He was a corporal punishment from 2003 until 2007.
McConnell said Tuesday afternoon that he is confident in his ability to retain his position as Republican leader, adding that the vote might take place on Wednesday or later.
“I believe the conclusion is very clear,” McConnell said. “To reiterate, I have the votes and will be elected. The only question is whether we perform the action sooner or later. I believe we’ll have another talk regarding this topic tomorrow.”
John Thune of South Dakota is anticipated to stay as Republican whip, a job he assumed in 2019 when Texas Senator John Cornyn reached his term limit. This contest remained uncontested as of Tuesday evening.
Yet to Hear From Pelosi Regarding McCarthy, Scalise and Emmer Leadership Bid
House Democrats will not conduct their leadership elections until November 30, giving incumbent party leaders more time to determine whether they would seek reelection or step down.
After the nation hears the results of the remaining uncalled elections, Speaker Nancy Pelosi is likely to declare whether she will continue to serve as the leading Democrat in the next Congress.
The California Democrat has served in leadership for more than two decades, first as whip in 2001 and then as minority leader in 2003. She subsequently made history as the nation’s first female speaker in 2007 and has since remained the chamber’s leading Democrat.
Pelosi previously said that this will be her final Congress as the House’s Democratic leader, but it is uncertain whether she would really resign.
Pelosi said on CNN’s “State of the Union with Dana Bash” on Sunday that her choice would be “based in” the desires of her family and House Democrats, adding that “there are many ways to exercise influence.”
Pelosi said, “The Speaker has tremendous authority, but I will always have influence.”
It is unknown who, if anybody, would oppose Hoyer for the position of Democratic leader or Democratic Whip Jim Clyburn, should they choose to continue in their current positions should Pelosi step down.
If the Democrats shift to the minority, these would be the top two positions in party leadership, since they would no longer possess the gavel of the speaker.