Critic says McCarthy has ‘rejected’ path to Speaker

Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.)

Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), a critic of House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (Calif.) bid to become Speaker, argued ahead of the House leadership vote that McCarthy has “rejected” his opportunity to win the Speakership.

Perry said in a statement Tuesday morning that he and a group of other Republicans have “worked in good faith for months to change the status quo” but asserted McCarthy has “sidelined or resisted” them.

He said “any perceived progress” on their initiatives “has often been vague or contained loopholes that further amplified concerns as to the sincerity of the promises being made.”

“In his 14 years in Republican Leadership, McCarthy has repeatedly failed to demonstrate any desire to meaningfully change the status quo in Washington,” Perry declared.

Perry’s statement comes after he and eight other current and incoming House Republicans criticized McCarthy’s response to a letter calling for various changes in the House that they had sent to GOP colleagues weeks earlier.

They called for initiatives like a plan to end “limitless” spending, forming a committee to target “weaponized government” and allowing a single Republican member to make a motion to vacate the chair, forcing a vote to oust the Speaker at any time.

McCarthy did offer some concessions in a House rules package released Sunday, including the creation of a select subcommittee on the “Weaponization of the Federal Government.” But he proposed a compromise rule to allow a motion to vacate the chair with support from five members of the House Republican Conference, a drop from the threshold requiring support from half of the conference that Republicans adopted in November.

Perry said McCarthy presented a “vague ultimatum” lacking in specifics and substance over the holiday weekend after months of dragging his feet. He said he and other GOP members who have been skeptical of McCarthy approached him with an offer to get him to the 218 votes he needs to win the Speakership, asking for “firm” commitments to hold votes on four policy proposals.

The policies are creating a balanced budget; replacing national income, payroll and estate taxes with a national sales tax; approving a plan from Texas House Republicans to address a surge in migration at the southern border; and pushing for term limits for members of Congress.

But Perry said McCarthy refused them as well as proposals to allow “transparent” votes on earmarks and ensure all amendments on cutting spending receive consideration on the House floor. He said McCarthy also refused to not oppose competitive conservative candidates in open Republican primaries.

“Kevin McCarthy had an opportunity to be Speaker of the House. He rejected it,” he said.

McCarthy has tried to lock up enough support to win the Speakership, but at least five Republicans — not including Perry or the other signers of the letter Sunday — have directly said or strongly indicated they will not support him.

Others, including Perry, have listed certain conditions that McCarthy needs to meet to win their support.

With 222 Republicans in the House, McCarthy can only afford four GOP defections in the Speaker election on Tuesday and still win the race, presuming all members of the House are present and voting.

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