Kevin McCarthy supporters 'strike back' against far-right 'Never Kevin' Republicans: report
As right-wing and pro-Donald Trump as House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has been, some MAGA Republicans serving in the U.S. House of Representatives believe that he isn’t far enough to the right. And they are trying to prevent him from becoming House speaker after the GOP’s new House majority is seated on January 3, 2023. Those McCarthy opponents have been dubbed the “Never Kevin” movement.
But according to CNN reporters Annie Grayer and Melanie Zanona, McCarthy’s defenders are fighting back against those members of the MAGA caucus by threatening to deprive them of committee assignments.
In an article published by CNN’s website on December 15, Grayer and Zanona report, “As frustration inside the House GOP has grown over a small band of anti-Kevin McCarthy lawmakers, an idea to strike back at the rebellious group has been floated among some Republicans: kicking these members off their committees, according to multiple members involved in the conversations. While discussions over retributions for McCarthy’s foes, which have not been previously reported, have not gone beyond casual conversations among rank-and-file members, the threat shows how Republicans — particularly moderates — are wrestling with ways to act as a counterweight to the so-called ‘Never Kevin’ movement, which is threatening to derail the California Republican’s speakership bid.”
The “McCarthy holdouts,” according to Grayer and Zanona, are also “weighing whether to oppose a rules package if it includes reinstating an arcane tool that would empower any member to bring up a floor vote to oust a speaker at any time, as well as the longshot idea of teaming up across the aisle with Democrats to elect a speaker if the race goes to multiple ballots and no one budges.”
Rep. Don Bacon of Nebraska, who co-chairs the Main Street Caucus, is among the House Republicans who is pushing back against the Never Kevin Republicans.
Bacon told CNN, “Teams win. Fractured teams lose. We can’t let a handful hold the conference hostage.”
Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina is a conservative Republican but views the outcome of the 2022 midterms as proof that the new Republican House majority shouldn’t go too far to the right. And that includes its choice of a House speaker.
Mace told CNN, “People need to recognize we don’t need to double down on failed policies and failed candidates. There’s a reason the midterms were the way that they were: people who are left of center, right of center were the most successful.”
But Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona, one of the far-right House Republicans who is part of the Never Kevin movement, is showing no signs of backing down. Biggs even hopes to become House speaker himself.
The Arizona Republican told CNN, “When you do the right thing, if somebody wants to punish you for doing the right thing? That’s on them.”
Another far-right MAGA Republican who is pushing the Never Kevin message is Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida.
Gaetz told CNN, “We are in a community of common fate. We have to acknowledge that the ship isn’t going anywhere if five people won’t row in that direction. And that’s true on impeachment, it’s true on the speakership vote, it’s true on the budget, it’s true on policy choices.”
Meanwhile, one far-right MAGA Republican who isn’t part of the Never Kevin movement is Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia. The conspiracy theorist and QAnon ally is supporting McCarthy for House speaker, although she is making it clear that if he takes over that position, she expects a lot in return for her support. And that could include becoming a member of the House Oversight Committee.
During a recent appearance on Steve Bannon’s “War Room” podcast, Greene said of the Never Kevin Republicans, “I actually think that's a bad strategy when we're looking at having a very razor-thin majority, with potentially 219 (seats).”
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