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House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy’s quest to become speaker of the House has run into new headwinds as the lower chamber of Congress prepares for a leadership vote on Tuesday.
Republicans gained control of the 435-member House in the November elections, with 222 seats. To be elected speaker over Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona — the only other Republican who has publicly said he wants the post — McCarthy needs 218 votes. That means any more than four Republicans opposing him, assuming all Democrats do, could sink his chances for the post.
On Sunday, nine Republicans signed a letter saying that McCarthy’s efforts to woo conservative Republicans have been, in essence, too little, too late.
“[T]he times call for radical departure from the status quo — not a continuation of past, and ongoing, Republican failures,” the letter said.
Republican Reps. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Chip Roy of Texas, Paul Gosar of Arizona, Dan Bishop of North Carolina, Andy Harris of Maryland and Andrew Clyde of Georgia signed the letter. Reps.-elect Andy Ogles of Tennessee, Anna Paulina Luna of Florida and Eli Crane of Arizona also signed on.
The letter said although McCarthy paints himself as part of the solution, he is part of the problem.
“For someone with a 14-year presence in senior House Republican leadership, Mr. McCarthy bears squarely the burden to correct the dysfunction he now explicitly admits across that long tenure,” it said.
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