Seven House Republicans List Demands For Next Speaker As McCarthy Battles For Every Vote
Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Seven Republican members of the House of Representatives wrote an open letter to their caucus listing reforms that the next Speaker of the House must pursue to earn their votes.

The letter comes as House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) attempts to succeed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) as the most powerful lawmaker in the lower chamber, a maneuver complicated by lackluster midterm election results that will grant Republicans only a narrow majority. The authors of the letter, which include five returning incumbents and two incoming freshmen, contended that the current balance of power grants undue control to caucus heads.

“The House leadership of both parties has increasingly centralized decision-making power around fewer and fewer individuals,” they wrote, “at the expense of deliberation and input by the body. This results in massive, multi-subject bills that are unable to be amended or fully read, all driven by supposedly must-pass defense and appropriations measures. In the process, we’ve amassed trillions of dollars in debt, empowered administration bureaucrats who target citizens, and failed to carry out our basic duties to defend the American People.”

Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA), Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA), Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC), Representative-Elect Eli Crane (R-AZ), and Representative-Elect Andy Ogles (R-TN) demanded that the House permit motions to vacate the chair, which would allow members to force a vote on the speakership. They noted that the motion had been permitted from 1801 to 2018 before it was removed from the rules under Pelosi’s leadership.

The lawmakers also observed the tendency of party leaders to push last-minute votes on omnibus packages. They requested a return to single-subject bills and a period of 72 hours to examine final bill texts. “For too long under both parties, we have simply failed to do our most basic job to legislate in a responsible manner on behalf of our constituents,” the authors wrote.

The letter also demanded that Republican leaders refrain from involving themselves “and their political proxies” in primary elections, ensure greater representation of conservative-leaning members on important committees, commit meaningfully to limit expenditures, and prioritize holding “weaponized” government agencies accountable.

“Leader McCarthy is a friend, and I’ve established a good working relationship with him over the past two years as the Freshman Representative to the Elected Leadership Committee,” Clyde told The Daily Wire. “While I continue my consideration of who I will vote for, the items presented are simply what I expect and require for anyone seeking the responsibility of serving as Speaker — as accountability of the Speaker to the membership is paramount.”

McCarthy, who needs a simple majority of lawmakers to gain control of the gavel, has pledged to avoid seeking additional votes from Democratic members. Presuming that all 435 members of the House vote for a candidate, opposition from even a few Republicans could disrupt his path to securing the top position in the chamber.

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), who chairs the conservative House Freedom Caucus, announced intentions earlier this week to run for the speakership. He asserted in an opinion piece that further leadership from McCarthy would bolster the establishment “uniparty” in Congress.

“We cannot let this all too rare opportunity to effectuate structural change pass us by because it is uncomfortable to challenge the Republican candidate who is a creature of the establishment status quo, or because the challenge is accompanied by some minimal risk,” Biggs wrote. “We will never defeat or change the status quo, which is taking us to the Leftist’s vision of America, by selecting a status quo candidate as the third most powerful person in the government.”

McCarthy appears to have anticipated challenges from conservatives; he vowed in a letter sent one day after the midterms that he will be a “listener every bit as much as a Speaker, striving to build consensus from the bottom-up rather than commanding the agenda from the top-down.”

The Daily Wire reached out to the offices of McCarthy and Biggs, as well as the five incumbent authors of the letter, for comment. This article will be updated with any response.

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