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“We know our job will not be easy,” said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., moments after rank-and-file Republicans selected him as the party’s nominee for House speaker. Representatives.

“It won’t be easy” because, in that particular caucus, McCarthy mustered 188 votes, 30 short of the 218 needed to become president when the House convenes in January to launch the 118th Congress.

“I’m not going anywhere,” declared a defiant Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., after getting his party’s nod to return to his post next year as the body’s top Republican. .

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California speaks at an event early Wednesday morning, November 9, 2022, in Washington.
((AP Photo/Alex Brandon))

Republicans can exercise control of the House. The Senate may well end up 50-50 again, but under Democratic control.

But so far, Republicans aren’t spending most of their time fighting congressional Democrats and President Biden. They are fighting among themselves. It won’t be “easy” for McCarthy because some of his fellow Republicans are hard-nosed.

“We’re going to elect a Republican president,” said Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif. “And if that’s tumultuous, so be it.”

MCCONNELL WINS SENATE LEADERSHIP ELECTION, PASSES SCOTT’S CHALLENGE

“We have 39 days to talk,” said Rep. Ralph Norman, RS.C., who still disagrees with McCarthy for president. “We want members of Congress to have decision-making in the body. Not just leadership.”

Norman said he was waiting for “concrete proposals” from McCarthy before giving the California Republican his vote of confidence.

US Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) speaks during a "save america" rally before the US midterm elections, at the Miami-Dade County Fairgrounds in Miami, Florida on November 6, 2022.

US Representative Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) speaks during a “Save America” ​​rally ahead of the US midterm elections, at the Miami-Dade County Fairgrounds in Miami, Florida, on November 6, 2022.
(Eva Marie Uzcategui/Getty Images)

Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Florida Republican, is one of the few House Republicans who may never endorse McCarthy for president. McCarthy’s candidacy for Speaker can only withstand a handful of losses considering the narrow majority of the GOP.

“Kevin McCarthy couldn’t get 218 votes. He couldn’t get 200 votes. He couldn’t get 190 votes today,” Gaetz quipped after the leadership vote. “So, to believe that Kevin McCarthy is going to be the speaker of the House, you have to believe that he will get votes in the next six weeks that he hasn’t been able to get in the last (seven) years.”

That’s a reference to McCarthy’s abrupt decision to withdraw from the presidential race in 2015 after former House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, resigned. McCarthy was unable to cross the magic threshold of 218 votes in the House of Representatives and withdrew from the Speaker’s race.

REPUBLICANS EXPRESS CONFIDENCE IN HOUSE LEADERSHIP AT NEXT CONGRESS: ‘I LIKE OUR LEADERSHIP’

In the Senate, a small group of conservatives implored McConnell to delay the leadership election until an early December runoff between Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., and Republican challenger Herschel Walker.

“Personally, I think it’s crazy, it would be crazy for us to have leadership elections now and just re-elect the same leadership,” Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, complained on Fox Business.

McConnell welcomed the newly elected Republican senators to his office Tuesday morning. There was talk at the time that Sen. Rick Scott, a Florida Republican, might announce a challenge to McConnell.

“Do you support leader McConnell to return as leader?” he intently asked the freshmen during a photo shoot.

“You don’t have to answer that,” McConnell instructed the senators-elect.

They all complied.

“Time to leave!” shouted McConnell’s aide, David Popp, and ordered reporters and photographers out of McConnell’s office.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.) speaks to reporters after a closed-door caucus luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 19, 2022.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.) speaks to reporters after a closed-door caucus luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 19, 2022.
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

A few hours later, Scott, who led this fall’s re-election efforts for Senate Republicans, announced that he would be running against McConnell. Some Republican senators gave Scott why during a tense, closed-door three-hour caucus on Capitol Hill. Some Republicans blamed Scott for the losses. There is also scrutiny of Scott’s management practices from the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee (NRSC).

The meeting delayed the Senate GOP’s weekly press conference with the press corps in the Senate’s Ohio Clock Corridor. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., gleefully filled the void.

MITCH MCCONNELL ON PATH TO BECOME LONGEST-SERVING LEADER IN SENATE HISTORY

“I don’t think they’re expecting me,” Schumer told a phalanx of reporters. “The person you’re waiting for may take a while.”

Schumer practically bubbled over with schadenfreude upon learning of the dissonance at the Senate Republican Conference.

“To follow the efforts of Rick Scott, the guy who said ‘cut Medicare,’ the guy who said ‘tax the middle class,’ would be suicide for Republicans,” Schumer said.

McConnell was emphatic that he would take precedence over Scott, or anyone else.

“The result is pretty clear,” McConnell declared. “I have the votes. I will be elected.”

Republicans could not muster 25 of the party’s 49 votes in the Senate next year to delay leadership elections. And McConnell didn’t even break a sweat, cruising to a 38-10 victory.

But that didn’t stop the subsequent complaints.

“We complain about a lot of things. We are supposed to be the fiscal conservatives. We have accepted all spending bills. We are $31 trillion in debt,” said Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind.

In a separate appearance on Fox Business, Braun asked why Republicans “accommodate” Democrats.

“When was the last time we drugged ten Democrats along with one Republican insider?” Bran asked. “Never.”

“We’re going to (need) to do more if we want to win. My view is if you like the status quo, keep doing what we’ve been doing,” said Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo.

Braun acknowledged that the intense meetings in recent days have been “healthy” for the party. But Braun said that McConnell’s opponents wanted more input.

McConnell verbally rolled his eyes at those suggestions.

“We meet three times a week. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday,” McConnell said.

Rep. Clay Higgins (R-La.) speaks during the House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing with family members of the victims and survivors of the shootings in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas on June 8. of 2022, on Capitol Hill in Washington.  DC.

Rep. Clay Higgins (R-La.) speaks during the House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing with family members of the victims and survivors of the shootings in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas on June 8. of 2022, on Capitol Hill in Washington. DC.
(Jason Andrew-Pool/Getty Images)

Back in the House, McCarthy skeptics were presenting a set of proposed new rules. Freedom Caucus members and some conservatives hope McCarthy will implement his policies. Only after that would they consider choosing McCarthy for Speaker.

“This is just the status quo,” Rep. Clay Higgins, R-Los Angeles, complained at a forum on House rules. “‘This is how you do it. Son, sit down and shut up. That’s how things work here.’ That’s wrong. Bad bad”.

“The main criticism that almost every member of Congress has about this place is that you get to a point where ultimately you feel like your vote doesn’t matter. Your votes (are) controlled by the leadership. What is your only vote? do?” Gaetz asked.

“We have to listen to everyone in our conference,” McCarthy said. “I respect each and every one.”

Kevin McCarthy can aspire to become Speaker of the House.

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But in this intoxicated political environment, McCarthy may be better off being the Listener of the House. His legislators murmur and complain.

We will be all ears.

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