Republican representatives say they are not concerned that McCarthy has conceded too much


New US Speaker of the House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) speaks to reporters in Statuary Hall after being elected Speaker of the US House of Representatives in late night 15th ballot during the fourth session of the 118th Congress at the US Capitol in Washington, US, January 7, 2023.

Jon Cherry | Reuters

After a chaotic week in the US House of Representatives over Kevin McCarthy’s bid for speaker, Republican representatives said Sunday they are not afraid he has given up too much to secure the gavel.

After 14 failed votes since Tuesday, the California Republican was able to overcome the opposition after making extraordinary concessions to a small bloc of far-right holdouts who refused to support his bid as speaker.

Republican Representative Scott Perry, who was one of the most outspoken opponents of McCarthy’s speaker offer, swung his vote for McCarthy on the 12th ballot. He said on Sunday that the concessions made by McCarthy will function as a mechanism to get things done and rule over things like the debt limit.

“This is never about Kevin McCarthy. This is about power for the American people,” Perry told ABC’s “This Week.” “And with all due respect, Nancy Pelosi ran Congress like a prison camp with no accountability.”

Representative Andy Barr, R-Ky., said Sunday that he is not afraid that Kevin McCarthy conceded too much to get the speakership. He said he understands why Americans were frustrated with how long it took to elect a speaker, but that a healthy democracy requires debate.

“The process that we went through this week was pretty healthy from a standpoint to sorting out all of these issues now,” he told ABC’s “This Week.”

In his maiden speech, McCarthy presented an ambitious plan to address the 118th session of Congress early Saturday morning, saying he wants to “be in control and bring some balance” to President Joe Biden’s policies.

He said the first legislation he plans to tackle would withdraw funding from more than 87,000 new IRS agents. He highlighted immigration reform as a top priority and said the Republican-controlled House will hold some of its first hearings of the year on the southern border.

Rep. Dan Bishop, RN.C., said he thinks McCarthy is “an extraordinarily talented leader,” and is confident there will be a lot of work to be done while he is speaking.

He told NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday that the speaker’s vote was not “dysfunctioning chaos” as many people claimed. It gave the Republicans a chance to take a good look at each other.

“It was deciding the key equations of how this Congress is going to go forward, and we’ve accomplished a tremendous amount,” he said.

Democratic representatives were less optimistic.

Massachusetts Democrat Katherine Clark told CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday that she thinks House Republicans were trying to distract Americans from their legislative agenda.

“When they talk about processes, it’s a smokescreen,” she said.

But House Minority leader Hakeem Jeffries said if McCarthy is willing to try to find common ground, he will find willing partners among House Democrats.

“Obviously we’re going to have strong disagreements at times, but we can agree to disagree without being obnoxious,” he told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.

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