Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) said 20 members of the House Republican Conference are “pretty hard no” votes against House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) becoming Speaker next session.
Biggs said in an interview on the podcast “Conservative Review with Daniel Horowitz” that those who plan to not vote for McCarthy are not all from the House Freedom Caucus, the most conservative group in the body.
Biggs, a former chair of the Freedom Caucus, ran against McCarthy to be the GOP’s nominee for the Speakership earlier this month. McCarthy won the vote, 188-31, with five representatives voting for neither man.
But McCarthy needs to win 218 votes on Jan. 3, the first day of the next session of Congress, to become Speaker, and Republicans are set to hold only a narrow majority, meaning he cannot afford to lose many votes.
All Democrats will likely support their party’s nominee, which will likely be Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.). McCarthy warned in an interview with Newsmax on Monday that Democrats could pick the next Speaker if Republicans “play games” on the House floor.
At least five House Republicans, including Biggs, have publicly said or strongly indicated they will not vote for McCarthy on the floor.
McCarthy has received criticism from hard-line conservatives over various issues like not pushing for a budget that cuts spending and not committing to pursuing impeachment against certain Biden administration officials like Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
McCarthy called on Mayorkas to resign in remarks last week, saying if he does not, House Republicans will determine if they can begin an impeachment inquiry.
Biggs said the party leadership needs a change from the status quo. He said the issues with McCarthy have “galvanized” enough members to prevent him from winning the Speakership.
“The sooner that they realize that, then the sooner that we can resolve who will be the Speaker,” he said.