HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — California Republican Kevin McCarthy has now struck out in six votes to become speaker of the United States House of Representatives.
A handful of Republicans, led by Pennsylvania Congressman Scott Perry, are blocking McCarthy’s bid. Perry spoke with abc27’s Capitol reporter Dennis Owens and said that it’s more important to get it right than to get it fast.
“Washington is broken. Everybody knows it,” Perry said.
While Perry and the 20 or so Republicans who are holding out against McCarthy have a small footprint in the U.S. House of Representatives, they are having a large impact.
“Congress has to work for the American people, not just the people in the swamp,” Perry added.
The Republicans holding out against McCarthy are questioning his conservative credentials and blame him for what they call reckless spending and $31 trillion in debt.
“If you look at this, big huge bills must pass. Bills that are all Christmas tree’d up with all types of pork. The guy who wants to be speaker and lead the fight against them has voted for them every single time except this last time in December when he’s running for speaker,” said Perry.
It’s less than two dozen Republicans, but they want procedural changes and they don’t trust McCarthy to deliver.
“I do trust him and I think he’ll be an excellent speaker,” said Congressman Lloyd Smucker (R).
Smucker, who supports McCarthy, is from the 11th district, adjacent to Perry’s district. Smucker thinks this protracted and public food fight is an embarrassment to the GOP.
“It’s frustrating to me to be held up by a small minority group of members who are unwilling to get on board with the 91 percent who have voted for Kevin McCarthy, that is frustrating,” Smucker said.
Perry and the other Republicans opposing McCarthy have typically supported Donald Trump, who called for Republicans to vote for McCarthy on Wednesday, Jan. 4.
Perry, who is usually in synchronization with Trump, disagrees with the former president this time.
“No one gets me to fall in line because, Dennis, as you know, there’s never the wrong time to do the right thing,” Perry concluded.
How unusual is it to not name a speaker of the house on the first ballot? The last time it took more than one ballot was in 1923, almost exactly 100 years ago.