McCarthy promise to allow amendments could come back to bite him

Kevin McCarthy
Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and GOP leaders meet with reporters following a closed-door briefing on the budget that will be submitted by President Joe Biden, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, March 8, 2023. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) J. Scott Applewhite/AP

McCarthy promise to allow amendments could come back to bite him

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House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) may be facing his first challenges with his vow for more open debate in the House of Representatives as the GOP looks to get priority legislation passed.

House Republicans are looking to pass legislation on education and immigration, among other topics, but divergent views on portions of the proposed legislation have led to leaders working to keep the narrow majority unified.

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Reports suggest McCarthy and House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-MN) have had to work to ensure the proposed amendments do not sink legislation or cause divisions within the Republican conference.

An example cited in the report is a proposed amendment being tweaked before getting to the House floor is one from Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY). Massie’s amendment to the GOP’s parental bill of rights for education would have stripped the Department of Education of handling “any office or program related to elementary or secondary education.”

The proposed amendment was modified to quell concerns from more centrist members of the House GOP.

Republican leadership has also reportedly warned against “poison pill” amendments on divisive hot-button issues for the education bill, opting for legislation that outlines rights parents have when it comes to schools rather than governing over schools, an anonymous Republican close to the leadership told Politico.

“Leadership has been aggressive in beating back the substantial concerns members had about federalism,” the Republican said.

A more open debate process for bills was one of the major concerns of the “Never Kevin” members of the GOP conference, which held up McCarthy being elected as speaker in January.

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After significant negotiations in January, McCarthy gave in to several requests from the more right-wing members who dragged the speaker election into 15 rounds, the most in more than 100 years. Republicans opposed to McCarthy’s speakership at first have seemingly changed their tune as he has so far kept nearly all the promises he made to get enough support for the position.

A recent poll put McCarthy’s favorability at 71% among Republicans, which is significantly higher than the dismal 32% favorability rating among the GOP that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) holds.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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