Republican representatives say they are not concerned that McCarthy conceded too much
Newly elected US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) speaks to reporters in Statuary Hall after being elected Speaker of the US House of Representatives at the end of the 15th night of voting in the ‘ fourth session of the 118th Congress at the US Capitol in Washington, US, January 7, 2023.
John Cherry | Reuters
After a chaotic week in the U.S. House of Representatives over Kevin McCarthy’s bid for speaker, Republican representatives said Sunday they weren’t worried he gave away too much until he secured it.
After 14 failed votes as of Tuesday, the California Republican was able to overcome the opposition after making surprising concessions to a small bloc of far-right hawks who refused to support his speakership bid.
Republican Representative Scott Perry, who was among the biggest opponents of McCarthy’s speakership bid, turned his vote for McCarthy on the 12th ballot. He said on Sunday that the concessions made by McCarthy it acts as a mechanism to achieve and regulate in matters such as debt limitation.
“This is never about Kevin McCarthy. This is about power for the American people,” Perry told ABC’s “This Week.” “And with all due respect, Nancy Pelosi ran Congress like an unaccountable prison camp.”
Rep. Andy Barr, R-Ky., said Sunday that he’s not worried that Kevin McCarthy gave up too much to get the speech. He said he understands why Americans were frustrated by how long it took to elect a speaker, but that a debate is necessary for a healthy democracy.
“The process we went through this week was very healthy in terms of resolving all of these issues now,” he told ABC’s “This Week.”
In his first speech, McCarthy outlined an ambitious plan to tackle the 118th congressional session early Saturday morning, saying he wants to “be the check and provide some balance” to the policies of President Joe Biden.
He said the first legislation he plans to address would restore funding for more than 87,000 new IRS agents. He singled out immigration reform as a priority, saying the Republican-controlled House will hold some of its first hearings of the year on the southern border.
Rep. Dan Bishop, RN.C., said he thinks McCarthy is an “extremely talented leader,” and he’s confident a lot of work will get done while he’s speaker.
He told NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Sunday that the speaker vote was not “anarchy” as many people said. It gave the Republicans a chance to take a hard look at each other.
“He was deciding the most important equations regarding how this Congress will proceed, and we achieved a great deal,” he said.
Democratic representatives were less optimistic.
Massachusetts Democrat Katherine Clark told CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday that she believes House Republicans were trying to distract Americans from their legislative agenda.
“When they talk about process, that’s a smoke screen,” she said.
But House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries said if McCarthy is willing to try to find common ground, he will find willing partners among House Democrats.
“Obviously we’re going to have strong disagreements at times, but we can agree to disagree without disagreeing,” he told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.