The top Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, made new concessions on Thursday to conservative colleagues who were rebelling against him in a leadership dispute that has paralyzed the chamber, even as other Republicans expressed rage that the party was blowing its opportunity to hold power.
In order to win over 20 right-wing Republicans who have consistently opposed his candidacy, lawmakers claimed that McCarthy, who was backed for the position by former President Donald Trump, had offered to weaken the speaker position. Political allies have warned that these changes would make the job even more difficult.
On Thursday, McCarthy appeared destined to lose a seventh round of voting when some members of his own party cast ballots for challenger Republican Byron Donalds, depriving him of the majority he needed to win the position. Six times on Tuesday and Wednesday, McCarthy’s bid to succeed Nancy Pelosi as speaker fell short. This was the first time in a century that the House failed to elect a speaker on the first ballot.
McCarthy backer Representative Jim Banks claimed on Fox News that “there have been many concessions.”
As speaker, McCarthy would have the authority to thwart the legislative agenda of Democratic President Joe Biden and to open investigations against his family and administration.
However, he has regularly fallen short of receiving the 218 votes required to be chosen House speaker, a position that has significant influence over the chamber’s agenda and is second only to the vice president in the succession to the presidency. McCarthy has been the leader of the House Republicans since 2019, but in the contentious race for speaker, he was unable to win over some of the most conservative members of the body.
Less than 10% of Republican lawmakers have opposed McCarthy, and he has consistently received the support of more than 200 Republicans. The holdouts have asserted that McCarthy would be too eager to reach agreements with the Democrats who rule the Senate and the White House, among other reasons.
The disagreement has hindered House legislators from starting their work, which includes examining the implementation of Biden’s policies and assisting citizens in navigating the federal government.