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January 8, 2023, updates on Speaker Kevin McCarthy
By Andrew Menezes, Chandelis Duster and Matthew Reed, CNN
Analysis: McCarthy speaker saga is only latest sign of Trump's weakened brand
Analysis from CNN's Harry Enten
Kevin McCarthy’s seven-year-plus dream to become House speaker finally became reality early Saturday morning. The California Republican’s tumultuous journey concluded after six Republican holdouts voted “present,” allowing him to win on the 15th ballot with a lower majority threshold.
McCarthy credited Donald Trump for his support in the speaker’s race, and the former president was quick to bask in the glory of McCarthy’s victory.
Make no mistake, though: McCarthy’s struggle to win the speaker’s gavel is only the latest indication that Trump’s brand among Republicans has been significantly weakened. Trump is no doubt still a powerful presence in the GOP, but he’s very vulnerable in his bid to win the Republican presidential nomination for a third time.
Let’s state the facts of what unfolded. McCarthy was backed by Trump from the beginning in his speakership campaign. McCarthy trumpeted Trump’s endorsement, and Trump, in turn, made his preference well known.
It would be difficult to imagine Republicans defying Trump at the height of his power. But that’s exactly what happened this time around. Despite the many appeals from Trump, this year’s speakership process was the longest in over 150 years. It was the first time in a century that more than one ballot had been needed to elect the speaker.
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House Republicans gear up to investigate DOJ and FBI
From CNN's Annie Grayer
House Republicans are gearing up to investigate the Department of Justice and the FBI, including their “ongoing criminal investigations,” setting up a showdown with the Biden administration and law enforcement agencies over their criminal probes, particularly those into former President Donald Trump.
The new House GOP majority has proposed that a new select subcommittee be formed – a result of one of the key concessions House Speaker Kevin McCarthy made to his opposition to secure the gavel.
In addition to having the power to investigate all ongoing criminal probes of the executive branch, the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government would also “be authorized to receive information available to the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence,” giving it access to the most highly classified information in Congress, according to the proposal.
An earlier draft of the select subcommittee proposal gave it less power and was much narrower in scope: It would have only been able to focus on the FBI, DOJ and the Department of Homeland Security, and made no mention of getting access to ongoing criminal investigations.
Republican Rep. Chip Roy of Texas, an early holdout against McCarthy who became a key negotiator for the hard-liners, said on Fox News that changes made to the select subcommittee proposal, particularly seeking a budget as big as the January 6 select committee, was key to getting those initially opposed to McCarthy on board.
“So we got more resources, more specificity, more power to go after this recalcitrant Biden administration,” Roy said Friday. “That’s really important.”
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Mike Rogers regrets losing temper with Matt Gaetz on House floor during speaker vote
From CNN's Aileen Graef and Sarah Fortinsky
Republican Rep. Mike Rogers of Alabama said Sunday he regrets losing his temper on the House floor Friday night during a confrontation with Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz.
Rogers had to be restrained from Gaetz after the Florida Republican failed to support Kevin McCarthy for speaker during the 14th ballot of the dayslong process. Gaetz later voted "present" on the 15th ballot, along with five other Republican holdouts, which lowered the majority threshold for McCarthy to win the speaker's gavel.
Gaetz said Sunday that Rogers has his “forgiveness” after their confrontation.
“Mike Rogers is going to be a terrific chairman of the Armed Services Committee and we share a deep commitment to our national defense, to our men and women in uniform, and, of course, in a late-night moment of high drama, people can have moments of frustration," Gaetz told Fox News. "I don't think there should be any punishment or reprisal just because he had an animated moment. He has my forgiveness and certainly is someone who has done great things for our national defense and will continue to do those great things.”
In a tweeted a response to Gaetz, Rogers said: “@RepMattGaetz and I have a long and productive working relationship, that I am sure will continue. I regret that I briefly lost my temper on the House Floor Friday evening and appreciate Matt’s kind understanding."
Rep. Chip Roy could support letting C-SPAN cameras film House floor action
From CNN's Chandelis Duster
Republican Rep. Chip Roy of Texas, who was a key holdout-turned-negotiator in Kevin McCarthy's fight for the House speakership, indicated Sunday that he could support the use of C-SPAN cameras to film House floor proceedings.
“I think drawing the American people into the conversations, the debate on the floor -- I mean if you're going to have cameras there, let's look at the action,” Roy told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”
Asked if he was in favor of transparency with, say, C-SPAN controlling the cameras, the Texas Republican said, “Let me go look into the ins and outs of all of that, but I think ... what the American people were able to see unfold on the floor was a good thing for our democracy and our republic, right? It was a good thing for people to be able to see our inner workings.”
During the drawn-out election for speaker, C-SPAN had cameras dispatched around the chamber that captured raw and contentious moments among lawmakers -- a rarity for the public. Two of those key moments were when McCarthy confronted Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz on the House floor during the 14th round of voting, followed shortly by Alabama Rep. Mike Rogers needing to be restrained when he also confronted Gaetz.
Independent media coverage of proceedings in the House is normally forbidden, and television networks rely on a government feed for coverage. But when there are special events taking place in the House, such as the election for speaker, independent coverage is allowed.
Ben O’Connell, C-SPAN’s director of editorial operations, told CNN's Oliver Darcy last week that the network would like to be able to do this far more often. C-SPAN has petitioned Congress dozens of times throughout the years to allow it greater editorial discretion over the camera shots it chooses to air.
Rep. James Comer says oversight investigations into Biden family won't be partisan
From CNN's Andrew Millman and Chandelis Duster
Republican Rep. James Comer of Kentucky, who will lead the House Oversight Committee in the new Congress, pushed back Sunday on charges of partisanship against his panel.
“The only people that see this as a partisan investigation are the media and the hard-core Democrats,” Comer told NBC's Chuck Todd on "Meet The Press." "Let me be clear, we’re not investigating Hunter Biden. We’re investigating Joe Biden."
He continued, "We need to know what is allowable and what isn't allowable with respect to foreign adversarial intervention among family members of presidents of the United States. That's something that the Democrats complained about with (Jared) Kushner, and certainly, the Republicans, myself included, have complained about with Hunter Biden and Jim Biden, the President's son and brother."
“This isn’t political," Comer said.
House Republicans have vowed to launch investigations targeting the president and his family dealings now that the party has the majority in the chamber.
House Republicans to select remaining committee chairs on Monday
From CNN's Melanie Zanona
With the fight for speaker of the House finally resolved, the House GOP Steering Committee will meet Monday at 10 a.m. ET to select their remaining committee chairs.
Here are the remaining races that have yet to be decided, along with the names of the Republican lawmakers seeking the respective gavels in parentheses.
- House Ways and Means Committee (Reps. Vern Buchanan of Florida, Jason Smith of Missouri and Adrian Smith of Nebraska)
- House Homeland Security Committee (Reps. Dan Crenshaw of Texas and Mark Green of Tennessee)
- House Budget Committee (Reps. Buddy Carter of Georgia, Lloyd Smucker of Pennsylvania and Jodey Arrington of Texas)
- House Education and Workforce Committee (Reps. Virginia Foxx of North Carolina and Tim Walberg of Michigan)
- House Small Business Committee (Rep. Roger Williams of Texas)
Asked Sunday by CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union" if he would be the next chair of the Homeland Security Committee, Crenshaw said, "Not up to me."
"It's up to the Steering Committee, but I will find out very soon, tomorrow, in fact," the Texas Republican said.
The House rules package, which establishes the rules and committees for the 118th Congress, is set to receive a vote on Monday, with the chamber expected to reconvene at 5 p.m. ET.
Rep. James Comer says Republicans will give McCarthy chance to govern
From CNN's Andrew Millman
Republican Rep. James Comer of Kentucky, the incoming chair of the House Oversight Committee, said Sunday that “the overwhelming majority” of House Republicans believe “that Kevin McCarthy needs a chance to govern and we’re going to give him a chance.”
“I’m not going to say there won’t be one person who tries to abuse that motion, but I’m confident that McCarthy’s going to be able to be given the greenlight to govern and to lead this conference,” Comer said on NBC's "Meet The Press."
Responding to host Chuck Todd’s assertion that Comer’s support for McCarthy has been tepid, the Kentucky Republican replied that he had given the new speaker “a robust endorsement,” while acknowledging that his constituents “constantly seem disappointed that Republicans aren’t able to do the things that Republicans say they’re going to do.”
“We’ve got to start taking steps to make fundamental change in America,” Comer said about planned votes on congressional term limits and a balanced budget amendment, which were part of the deal to bring along holdout House Republicans to back McCarthy's speakership bid.
When asked why House Republicans would use the debt ceiling to try to secure spending cuts, Comer said, “The American people need to see that there are people in Congress who are serious about the federal debt.”
“We’ve got to have the debate, whenever and wherever, on the House floor to the federal debt," he said.
Jim Jordan defends drawn-out speaker election: “Sometimes democracy is messy”
From CNN's Annie Grayer and Chandelis Duster
GOP Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, the incoming House Judiciary Committee chair, defended the drawn-out process of getting Kevin McCarthy elected speaker, saying, “Sometimes democracy is messy, but I would argue that's exactly how the founders intended it."
“Whether it's one vote, or 15 votes, Kevin McCarthy is still speaker of the House. I've seen all kinds of games go into extra innings and overtime, that's just how it works,” Jordan said during an interview on “Fox News Sunday.”
Jordan was nominated for the speakership by several conservative hard-liners over multiple rounds of voting last week, but the Ohio Republican maintained his support for McCarthy.
Jordan also said Sunday that “we'll see tomorrow” what happens with the House rules package and how many moderate Republicans will come out against it but said he thinks the GOP will get the 218 votes needed to pass it.