The suspense is building. Roll Call reports that Kevin McCarthy has given away the farm but still hasn’t secured the Speaker’s gavel. The vote is less now about 24 hours away.
A proposed House rules package Republicans released late Sunday includes a few olive branches from Kevin McCarthy to Freedom Caucus members who have yet to commit to supporting him for speaker.
The gestures from McCarthy include proposals to reduce to five the number of Republicans it would take to force a vote on ousting the speaker, create a select Judiciary subcommittee to centralize investigations into the executive branch, limit bills to a single subject and make it harder to waive the germaneness rule for amendments.
But those proposals did not appear to be enough to win over many members who have opposed making him speaker.
In one sense, McCarthy has already lost because making it so easy to oust the Speaker makes it impossible for him to do his job. Even if he somehow secures the gavel on Tuesday, he won’t be able to keep it. He’ll either get bounced by right-wing radicals for paying America’s debts and funding its agencies or he’ll get bounced by the vast majority of the House for refusing to do those things and causing a global depression.
The same problem will face any other Republican Speaker who relies on support from the far right for their majority. This is why we may actually see a bipartisan majority caucus emerge in the House. It could happen preemptively, to avoid obvious looming catastrophes, but it will more likely come down the line in response to catastrophe. There is a ton on the line, and it will be quite the show.
First up is finding out if McCarthy will get a shot at the outset or if everything will be instantly thrown into confusion after he fails on the first ballot. I’m definitely interested to see what happens, and it’s not the kind of thing that’s easy to forecast. We may be in rare historical waters by late afternoon tomorrow.