Republican lawmakers are turning up the intensity in the halls of Congress over the fight for the next Speaker.
Supporters for Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) are signaling where they stand by wearing custom “O.K” buttons, meaning “only Kevin.”
According to The Washington Examiner, the conservative House Freedom Caucus has lined up against McCarthy’s bid, with the most militant members dubbed the “Never Kevin” faction. Now, a group of centrist Republicans is continuing the riff on “Never Trump” by turning the label on its head, vowing to support “Only Kevin” on Jan. 3, when the House will elect a new speaker.
McCarthy won the speaker nomination from his conference last month with 31 Republican holdouts.
McCarthy will need a majority of votes — 218 if all lawmakers cast their ballot — but with Republicans commanding only a four-vote majority next year, McCarthy and his surrogates have the daunting task of chipping away at nearly all the GOP opposition in time for the vote. If he can’t, there could be a floor fight and multiple rounds of voting.
Members of the Republican Governance Group were seen sporting the “O.K.” pins around the Capitol this week in support of the minority leader. The centrist caucus, formerly known as the Tuesday Group, has urged Freedom Caucus members to drop their opposition, penning a letter earlier this month likening the intraparty fighting to the conference “handcuffing itself to a burning building before” the next Congress even begins.
Freedom Caucus members are demanding a number of concessions from McCarthy in exchange for their vote, most controversially a change to the “motion to vacate the chair,” a procedure that can be used to oust a sitting speaker. The lawmakers want to enable any single member to offer the motion.
Arizona Congressman and Freedom Caucus chairman Andy Biggs is planning to challenge McCarthy for the Speaker’s gavel in a floor vote in January.