Kevin McCarthy in for bitter fight for US House Speaker gavel

Kevin McCarthy in for bitter fight for US House Speaker gavel

Kevin McCarthy facing stalwart opposition from handful of GOP colleagues, complicating bid to replace Speaker Nancy Pelosi

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) - Kevin McCarthy, the House of Representatives' Republican leader, is in the midst of a bitter fight to attain the speakership in the incoming 118th Congress amid ongoing infighting within his caucus.

McCarthy is facing stalwart opposition from a handful of Republican colleagues that all but ensures he will not be able to become the next Speaker of the House unless they drop their entrenched resistance, or in an even more unlikely event, he gains support from Democratic lawmakers.

The House is slated to vote later Tuesday as Congress convenes for the first time since the new year. The Democratic-controlled Senate will also convene, but without the political spectacle in its fellow chamber.

If McCarthy is unable to secure a majority of votes during the first round of voting in the 435-member House, it will mark the first time in 100 years that a speaker needed multiple rounds of voting to win the gavel. Republicans hold a razor-thin majority in the chamber with just four more seats than Democrats.

The tally remains unclear, but about a dozen Republicans are expected to support a candidate other than McCarthy.

Still, it is not clear who would be able to gain the needed votes besides the Republican from the state of California. McCarthy's detractors previously rallied around Andy Biggs, but he was trounced by McCarthy 188-31 in a November nominating contest.

In a Jan. 1 letter led by Representative Scott Perry, nine of McCarthy's Republican detractors expressed dissatisfaction with concessions he has already put forward, saying he "bears squarely the burden to correct the dysfunction he now explicitly admits across" his 14-year tenure in Republican leadership.

"Thus far, there continues to be missing specific commitments to virtually every component of our entreaties, and thus, no means to ensure whether promises are kept or broken," the Republicans wrote in their New Year's Day missive.

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