McCarthy fends off questions about weakened Speakership
Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Sunday denied the idea that his leadership has been weakened by the concessions he made to House Republicans in order to become Speaker, instead saying his position has been “strengthened.”
“Maybe people didn’t like what they saw, that we didn’t win on the very first vote, but that was democracy,” McCarthy said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “And what you found at the end of the day, we’re actually stronger.”
It took a historic 15 rounds of voting for McCarthy to clinch the gavel, after wearing down his Republican opposition and offering concessions to take on a leadership role he has long sought. One of the concessions was to lower the threshold for how many members of Congress can call for a motion to vacate the chair to just one lawmaker, which many saw as making McCarthy too vulnerable.
“That one vote to vacate. That’s not new. That’s been around for 100 years,” McCarthy said. “The only person who took it away when they got a small majority was [former Speaker] Nancy Pelosi [D-Calif.]. So Nancy felt she did not have the power to stay in office if that was there. I’m very comfortable in where we are. So I don’t have any fear in that.”
When Pelosi was elected Speaker in 2019, the rule for the motion to vacate was not taken away but was raised to a threshold of a majority of either party.
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