Four out of six Alabamian Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives announced their support for Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) for Speaker of the House Monday night, despite opposition from more conservative Republicans.
Representatives Mike Rogers (R-Saks), Robert Aderholt (R-Haleyville), Gary Palmer (R-Hoover) and Dale Strong (R-Huntsville) said they intend to vote for McCarthy on Tuesday in an election that will determine who will follow Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) as Speaker when the new Republican-dominated House assembles in Washington, D.C. this year.
Nevertheless, the race is still up for grabs as the GOP majority struggles to get behind a single candidate.
A handful of conservative Republicans, namely those involved with the Freedom Caucus, have denied support to McCarthy due to his inability to address rule changes put in place by Pelosi during her tenure in the leadership role.
McCarthy served as House majority leader from 2014 to 2019 under Speaker Paul Ryan and has since served as the minority leader. He is the frontrunner in the speaker race but lacks the support necessary to confidently secure the win.
House rule alterations have come to the forefront of the debate around the speaker election. The more conservative Republicans refuse to support McCarthy because they feel he is unwilling to change the rules enough.
Among the proposed rule changes is the one surrounding the motion to vacate the Speaker of the House, which, until four years ago, could be filed by any member, thereby bringing the objection to leadership up for a vote. Democrats changed the rule in 2019 so that the motion could only be brought up for a vote if it had the backing of a party caucus or conference.
Through negotiations with the conservative Republicans over the weekend, McCarthy offered to change the rule to allow the motion to be brought up for a vote if five members of the majority party signed onto a resolution. Nevertheless, some Republicans still think that’s not enough and want the rule changed back to the way it was before.
Unlike many of his other delegation members, Rep. Barry Moore (R-Enterprise) told 1819 News that he is working with the Freedom Caucus to negotiate for the rule changes.
“Once these negotiations are complete, we will elect a Speaker and get to work fighting the Biden administration’s radical policies,” Moore said.
Palmer previously voiced support for McCarthy for Speaker, according to a spokesperson from his office. The chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee told 1819 News, “Kevin McCarthy has earned the right to serve as Speaker of the House. His efforts over the last two election cycles are a major reason Republicans will have a majority in the House during the 118th Congress.
“He is publicly committed to changing the way the House operates with more transparency, more input from members, and more accountability including reinstating the rule allowing for members to file a motion to recall the Speaker. McCarthy deserves the opportunity to lead, and I hope all the Republicans in the House will give him that chance.”
Similarly, Rogers praised McCarthy in a statement on Monday night.
“Kevin McCarthy has spent the last four years laser-focused on taking back the House, and he delivered for our conference and our voters,” Rogers said. “Kevin has my vote on every ballot until he’s elected Speaker.”
Also, in a statement, Aderholt enthusiastically announced his intent to vote for McCarthy.
“The American people elected a Republican majority in the House because they were tired of the direction of our nation and the leadership of Speaker Pelosi,” Aderholt said. “The American people are expecting us to work to stop inflation, deal with the crisis at our southern border and hold the Biden Administration accountable. The sooner we elect a Republican Speaker, the sooner we can start.”
Strong, who will replace Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) in representing the 5th Congressional District, affirmed his support for McCarthy too but shares concerns with other Republicans about the current House rules.
“I also plan to on voting for the most conservative rules package ever presented, which will give power back to committees,” Strong said. “It is time for Republicans to unify so that we can advance our agenda. Our fight is not with each other. It is to stop the Biden policies that are killing our country.”
1819 News also reached out to Rep. Jerry Carl (R-Mobile) but received no response.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article has been updated.
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