Drama is ahead for Kevin McCarthy and Nancy Pelosi

Newt Gingrich
Conservative Opinion

Newt Gingrich

Former House Speaker; Chairman of Gingrich 360
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With another five weeks before the House decides who will become the next majority speaker, Congressman Kevin McCarthy has a math problem. There are a total of 222 House Republicans and front-runner McCarthy, R-Calif., needs 218 votes to secure the leadership position. That means McCarthy can only afford a handful of rejections, five to be exact. And so far, at least four Republicans from the far-right have signaled their opposition. On the other side of the aisle, things are more predictable. 52-year-old Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., will replace Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who is 30 years his senior, as House speaker. Now the main focus of speculation is whether or not Pelosi will leave the House after her lame-duck session. Straight Arrow News contributor Newt Gingrich believes she will and speculates on when that could happen and why.

Some people believe that she secretly wants to be the ambassador to Italy. And certainly when Calista and I were in Italy last summer for the Fourth of July, and Nancy and Paul Pelosi were there, every indication we got was that she was checking out Villa Taverna which is the residence of the ambassador of Italy. 

And so I wouldn’t be at all shocked if suddenly one morning it was announced that she had stepped down, probably after the end of the lame-duck session. The lame-duck session is called that because it occurs after the election. And it’s the people many of whom have already been defeated or have announced their retirement, but they’re back for one last try. I suspect she will not announce that she’s leaving for good until after that session is over which could be as late as Christmas Eve. 

Or in a worst case could be as late as New Year’s Eve. Because she would give up her last power if she was too obviously going to leave. But I will be back and report to you in January. 

I’ll be very surprised if she in fact ends up staying because I just think it will be so uncomfortable having been that powerful and now being just one of the group.

We are watching a fascinating development in the House where the margin of Republican majority is so narrow, that a handful of very, very conservative members are making life really difficult for the Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy.

On principal, McCarthy has an overwhelming majority inside the conference. He needs 218 votes to become Speaker, while on January 3rd, when they go to the actual floor, and they had the first formal session of the new Congress. And the challenge from McCarthy is at his current margin, which is 222 votes, that’s a four vote margin. So any five members can basically hold him hostage, and he has to work through – can you narrow down, currently, I think there are probably five or six members who would like to make trouble and saying I’m not going to vote for you. Now, the problem for those members is they don’t have a second candidate. 

At least 150 members of that conference are going to vote for McCarthy, period. And they’re not going to be for anybody else. So the members are faced with the challenge of causing chaos, but not being able to actually get what they want. This, by the way, is not new. It happened about 100 years ago, when it took two full days of voting for the Speaker to finally wear down the opposition and get to the 218 number. I had a couple of occasions with myself, where we’d have members who, for one reason or another, didn’t want to vote for me and you had to go through a dance. 

And on one occasion, I actually had a very conservative Democrat who came over to see me and said, “Look, if we get down to one vote margin, I’m going to switch and vote for you,” which was just wild. So it does happen. It’s part of American history. 

But it makes McCarthy’s job a lot more complicated and a lot more exhausting. And it’s worth you’re watching. 

Meanwhile, on the other side of the aisle, the Democrats clearly are going to elect Hakeem Jeffries from New York as the new Democratic leader. He’s the replacement for Pelosi. Pelosi for the moment claims that she’s going to stay. I frankly, doubt that. I had that choice myself when I stepped down. And the idea of being a former speaker, particularly one who was as powerful as Pelosi, and doing all the things you have to do as a member, while you’re just basically one more backbench member, I can’t imagine that she’ll do that for very long, if at all.

Some people believe that she secretly wants to be the Ambassador to Italy. And certainly when Calista and I were in Italy last summer for the Fourth of July, and Nancy and Paul Pelosi were there, every indication we got was that she was checking out Villa Taverna which is the residence of the Ambassador of Italy. 

And so I wouldn’t be at all shocked if suddenly one morning it was announced that she had stepped down, probably after the end of the lame duck session. The lame duck session is called that because it occurs after the election. And it’s the people many of whom have already been defeated or have announced their retirement, but they’re back for one last try. I suspect she will not announce that she’s leaving for good until after that session is over which could be as late as Christmas Eve. 

Or in a worst case could be as late as New Year’s Eve. Because she would give up her last power if she was too obviously going to leave. But I will be back and report to you in January. 

I’ll be very surprised if she in fact ends up staying because I just think it will be so uncomfortable having been that powerful and now being just one of the group.

 


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