GOP rep.-elect says ‘we’re not going to be held hostage’ by McCarthy detractors
Rep.-elect Mike Lawler (R-N.Y.) expressed confidence on Sunday that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) will find the necessary votes to become Speaker.
“We’re not going to be held hostage by a handful of members when the overwhelming majority of the conference is in full support of Kevin,” Lawler told co-anchor Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
McCarthy won a vote within the Republican conference last month to become the party’s nominee for Speaker, but the California Republican is facing a showdown on the floor next month to officially seize the role in the next Congress.
Republicans’ narrow majority means only a handful of detractors could put McCarthy below the needed threshold. Five GOP lawmakers have voiced opposition to McCarthy, while a few others have expressed skepticism.
Lawler told Tapper he expects “cooler heads to prevail” and McCarthy to find the needed votes, urging House Republicans to instead focus on the Biden administration.
“I think the American people are looking for members of Congress to be serious, to be sober, to be focused on addressing these challenges,” Lawler said on CNN.
“And that’s where our efforts and attention should be,” he added. “The conference has spoken loud and clear. And I think all of my colleagues should move forward in support of Kevin so that we can get to work on behalf of the American people.”
McCarthy’s efforts to shore up support have also led to concerns that House Democrats could band together with a few GOP lawmakers to elect a moderate Republican to the Speakership.
But House Minority Leader-elect Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) on Sunday indicated that scenario was not a possibility, adding, “We’ll see what happens.”