It took House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) a record 15 ballots to secure the speakership, but his recently leaked comments cast doubt on the remainder of his term.
A New York Times report has stoked tension between House Republicans. The report details how McCarthy’s bitter speakership battle resulted in a loss of confidence between McCarthy and the members he’s meant to lead.
Of particular concern to McCarthy are Jody Arrington (R-TX) and Steve Scalise (R-LA), who both hold significant responsibilities and positions within the House.
“Mr. McCarthy has told colleagues he has no confidence in Mr. Arrington, the man responsible for delivering a budget framework laying out the spending cuts that Republicans have said they will demand in exchange for any move to increase the debt limit,” the Times reported.
Arrington notoriously sought to go behind McCarthy’s back to nominate Scalise during the speakership fight.
As a result, McCarthy sees Arrington “as incompetent, according to more than half a dozen people familiar with this his thinking,” the Times also stated.
The squabbling has not remained private. A House Republican speaking privately to Axios said, “The members I’ve spoken with are just stunned by his rebuking of his budget chair, and certainly of our leadership.”
The unnamed Republican was apparently doubtful McCarthy would complete a full term in the speakership position.
Representative Ralph Norman (R-SC) spoke to Axios on the record, saying it was on McCarthy to repair relationships and get the House together.
“The agreements made by Speaker McCarthy, among other things, is to begin the ten year balanced budget NOW and with his initiatives & directives, it’s HIS responsibility to get the 218 votes,” Norman said.
A senior House Republican seemed to agree in statements to Politico.
“He made a bunch of promises during the speaker race that were always untenable, but he made them anyway,” the member said. “At a certain point, a lot of that stuff is going to collide, and he’s getting nervous and looking for others to blame.”
The true extent to which these inner squabbles will affect McCarthy’s leadership or the House GOP’s ability to work together remains to be seen.