The House of Representatives is meeting Thursday for a third day to attempt to vote in a new Speaker of the House—the leading contender Kevin McCarthy has connections to the Silicon Valley business community that may hurt his chances of taking power.
- Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is the frontrunner for the Speaker of the House in the newly GOP-controlled House of Representatives, but he has failed to secure enough votes to take the position.
- In a historical precedent, the House GOP has failed six votes in two days to approve McCarthy, as 21 representatives successfully blocked the vote and are demanding concessions to make their coalition more powerful.
- Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), one of the Freedom Caucus’s leaders, is calling to “Hold the Line” against McCarthy.
- McCarthy approached the Freedom Caucus Thursday with further concessions, allowing for more power to them and more appointments to move the vote up to the required 218 votes. However, hardline members may continue to stifle further votes or push new candidates friendly to the caucus. His business ties to Silicon Valley may only serve to alienate them further.
Why It’s Important
The situation is the first time since 1923 that a House Speaker was blocked like this, which in that case required nine votes. It reflects either the stubbornness and unwillingness of more hardline representatives to cooperate or a moment of accomplishment for hardline conservatives against old-guard moderates. CNN Business calls the fiasco an embarrassment for the new coalition that damage’s the GOP’s ability to move forward and create an agenda when they can’t uphold their only current duty of electing a new House Speaker.
McCarthy will likely win out, but he may have to give serious concessions to the Freedom Caucus further to do so.
As The New York Times notes, the group continues to be suspicious of his connections to Silicon Valley and fear that he won’t address social-media censorship. McCarthy has multiple business connections to major firms, and several of his staffers are former Big Tech lobbyists or representatives for Apple and Amazon. “The ultraconservatives who have stymied his rise to power list a number of big objections with Mr. McCarthy. They say that he isn’t sufficiently committed to right-wing causes and that he hasn’t pushed back enough against perceived anti-conservative bias on social media.”
“Meanwhile, the business of the government is stuck. Until Republicans resolve their internal conflicts, the House is at a standstill. Members have not been sworn in, administrative tasks and constituent services have been delayed, and legislative work is on the back burner,” says The New York Times.