Rep. Ken Buck says ‘at some point’ McCarthy needs to step aside in speaker race

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Rep.-elect Ken Buck defended Scalise, who is under fire for speaking at a white supremacy event. (AP Photo/Barry Gutierrez, File) Barry Gutierrez

Rep. Ken Buck says ‘at some point’ McCarthy needs to step aside in speaker race

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Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO), who has voted for Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) on every ballot in the House speaker election, said the time is approaching for the Republican conference to make a decision on whom to elect.

Buck told CNN on Wednesday afternoon that tensions are running high among GOP lawmakers and that further conflict is brewing as factions may make good on their threats as the election approaches the sixth ballot. Some centrist Republicans have floated the possibility of working with Democrats to appoint a unifying candidate if McCarthy can’t win.

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“At some point today, the conference as a whole needs to make a decision,” Buck said. “I think what’s happening right now is people are getting worn down. You’re starting to get some open conflict on the floor as well as behind closed doors. I think that conflict isn’t healthy, and I think the moderates are talking about threats that they made to work with the Democrats on somebody, the 20 [anti-McCarthy defectors] are saying they’re not moving no matter what, and at some point, people got to realize we have to choose a speaker and move forward.”

He told CNN’s Manu Raju that “at some point,” McCarthy should step aside to let incoming Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) run for the top spot.

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“What I’ve asked is that if Kevin can’t get there, that he step aside and give Steve a chance to do it,” Buck said Wednesday.

McCarthy is set on not backing down, even as 20 conservative members of his party rally behind Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL). This is the first time since 1923 that the speakership election has needed more than one round of votes.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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