Six takeaways from House committee assignments so far

As members of the House continue to receive committee assignments for the new Congress, Republicans are shaking up several panels with their newly obtained majority.

Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has doubled down on promises to block certain Democrats from top panels, while several Republicans who played key roles in his long, drawn-out fight for Speaker have found their way onto prominent committees.

More committee assignments remain to be handed out, but here are the six main takeaways so far:

Greene, Gosar back on committees

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., joined at left by Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) were placed back on committees on Tuesday, after having their committee assignments stripped in 2021.

Both Greene and Gosar were selected to sit on the Oversight and Accountability Committee, while Greene was also chosen to serve on the Homeland Security Committee and Gosar was picked to sit on the Natural Resources Committee.

Greene, who had reportedly lobbied for the spot on the Oversight committee, was a key supporter of McCarthy throughout his bid for Speaker. She was stripped of her committee assignments in February 2021, just one month after joining Congress, for espousing conspiracy theories and encouraging violence against Democratic officials on social media.

Gosar was censured and removed from his committees in November 2021, after he posted an anime-style video that depicted him killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and engaging in a sword fight with President Biden.

McCarthy sparks fresh anger with vow to keep Omar off Foreign Affairs

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.)

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) speaks to reporters during a break in a House Democratic caucus meeting and leadership election on Wednesday, November 30, 2022 for the 118th session of Congress.

McCarthy has recently doubled down on his previous vows to keep Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) off the Foreign Affairs Committee, sparking fresh anger among Democrats and Muslim advocacy groups.

Omar, one of three Muslim members of Congress, has been critical of the Israeli government and its supporters, leading to accusations of antisemitism.

“Last year, I promised that when I became Speaker, I would remove Rep. Ilhan Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee based on her repeated anti-semitic and anti-American remarks,” McCarthy said in a tweet in November. “I'm keeping that promise.”

McCarthy reportedly told the GOP conference last week that he still plans to remove Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee.

Robert McCaw, the government affairs department director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, called the decision to reinstate Greene and Gosar while threatening to remove Omar “absolute insanity and hypocrisy” in a statement on Wednesday. 

“Racism and Islamophobia would be the only explanation for this hypocritical double-standard,” McCaw said.

While McCarthy has promised to block Omar’s appointment, he cannot do so alone. In order to remove Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee, House Republicans would have to bring the matter to a vote on the House floor.

Schiff, Swalwell future on Intel panel still in peril

In this May 28, 2019 file photo, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., left, and Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., speak with members of the media on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Reps. Adam Schiff’s (D-Calif.) and Eric Swalwell’s (D-Calif.) futures on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence also remain in peril, as McCarthy has similarly promised to boot both California Democrats from the powerful panel.

McCarthy has cited accusations that Schiff, the former chair of the Intelligence Committee, lied to the public about the extent of former President Trump’s ties to Russia during his 2016 campaign and exaggerated the central assertion of Trump’s first impeachment.

The first impeachment, which Schiff led, accused Trump of pressuring Ukrainian officials to investigate his political rivals by threatening to withhold aid.

In Swalwell’s case, McCarthy has pointed to his ties to an alleged Chinese spy who helped fundraise for the congressman in 2014. However, Swalwell reportedly cut ties with the individual after the FBI informed him of her identity.

Swalwell was also an impeachment manager for Trump’s second impeachment over his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.

Schiff’s and Swalwell’s positions on the Intelligence Committee are in a particularly precarious state, given that McCarthy can unilaterally reject their appointments without bringing a resolution to the House floor for a vote. 

Santos gets committee assignments

George Santos

Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., departs after attending a House GOP conference meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.), the embattled first-term lawmaker who has admitted to lying about his background on the campaign trail, was seated on the Small Business Committee and Science, Space and Technology Committee on Tuesday.

McCarthy had confirmed last week that Santos would be seated on committees, even as several members of the Republican conference called for his resignation.

“I try to stick by the Constitution. The voters elected him to serve. If there is a concern, and he has to go through the Ethics [Committee], let him move through that,” McCarthy told reporters.

Santos is facing investigations on multiple fronts, as his claims about his background continue to unravel. The Nassau County district attorney and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York have both launched probes into the New York Republican, while Brazilian authorities reopened a fraud case against Santos from 2008.

Complaints have also been filed with the House Ethics Committee and Federal Election Commission over allegations that Santos falsified his financial disclosures and violated campaign finance laws.

McCarthy detractors get seats on Financial Services, Appropriations panels

Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) addresses reporters after a closed-door House Republican conference meeting on Tuesday, June 14, 2022.

Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) addresses reporters after a closed-door House Republican conference meeting on Tuesday, June 14, 2022.

Several Republican members who opposed McCarthy’s bid for Speaker, drawing out the fight over a historic four days and 15 ballots, received seats on top House panels last week.

Of the 20 members of the anti-McCarthy group, Reps. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) and Andy Ogles (R-Tenn.) were both appointed to the Financial Services Committee, while Reps. Michael Cloud (R-Texas) and Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.) found their way on to the Appropriations Committee. Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.) also maintained his spot on the Financial Services Committee.

While GOP leadership has said that no members were promised committee assignments as part of its negotiations during the Speaker fight, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) noted last week that they did agree to ensure that “committees are represented by a whole swath of our membership.”

This has largely translated into providing hard-line conservatives with more spots on prominent committees. 

Foxx gets waiver to lead Education panel

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) at a House Education and Labor Committee hearing examining the policies and priorities of the Department of Labor on Tuesday, June 14, 2022.

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) at a House Education and Labor Committee hearing examining the policies and priorities of the Department of Labor on Tuesday, June 14, 2022.

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) was selected to chair the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, after receiving a waiver from GOP leadership.

House GOP rules only permit members to serve as the head of a committee for three consecutive terms. As Foxx is beginning her fourth term as the top Republican on the education panel, she required a waiver to serve as chair.

Promise Kept: Marjorie Taylor Greene, Paul Gosar Reinstated to House Committees

MAGA Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar have been given committee assignments after being stripped of them in 2021 by a Democrat-controlled House.

It’s a promise new House Speaker Kevin McCarthy made, and has now kept.

Greene (R-GA) will be sitting on the House Homeland Security and Oversight Committees while Gosar (R-AZ) will take part on the House Natural Resources and Oversight Committees.

Gosar’s assignments are basically a reinstatement to committees he served on before his removal.

Greene’s roles are different, however, as she previously served on the Education and Labor Committee as well as the Budget Committee.

The Georgia lawmaker immediately celebrated her new role and vowed to “investigate the Biden administration’s violations of our laws and fund (and defund) programs to defend our border and American sovereignty.”

RELATED: McCarthy May Give Marjorie Taylor Greene, Paul Gosar ‘Better’ Committee Assignments If GOP Takes Back Congress

House Committee Shuffle

The move to reinstate Greene and Gosar to House committees comes just days after House Speaker Kevin McCarthy advised he’d be removing Reps. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), Adam Schiff (D-CA), and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) from key roles.

Schiff and Swalwell both served on the House Intelligence Committee, with the former serving as Chair. Swalwell also had a role on the Homeland Security Committee. Omar served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Think about that for a minute – Marjorie Taylor Greene is essentially replacing Swalwell on the Homeland Security Committee.

What better symbolism for the new Congress: Kicking a man with ties to a Chinese spy off of Homeland Security and replacing him with an America First congresswoman.

Swalwell must be beside himself.

RELATED: Swalwell Lashes Out After Learning McCarthy Will Remove Him, Ilhan Omar, and Adam Schiff from Committees

Greene and Gosar are Back

Some have speculated that the committee assignments for lawmakers further to the right on the political spectrum may have been a concession by McCarthy in order to secure the Speaker’s gavel.

In reality, he’s been suggesting Greene and Gosar would be reinstated for quite some time.

“They’ll have committees,” McCarthy vowed back in November of 2021. “They may have other committee assignments.”

In fact, he added, “They may have better committee assignments.”

It seems in the case of Greene at least, the ‘better’ committee promise came to fruition.

Democrats had taken the unusual step of removing Greene and Gosar over a year ago from their House committee assignments for very specious reasons.

Gosar was removed for posting a parody cartoon showing an anime version of himself attacking President Biden and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. No serious person took it as a profound threat. Because it was a Japanese cartoon. With swords.

But Democrats, along with Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney, voted to remove him from committee. Kinzinger now works for CNN and Cheney was defeated in her primary.

Greene was removed from committee assignments over social media posts made prior to her election to office.

Both had engaged in ill-advised behavior, but nothing that warranted discipline. Democrats simply did it out of spite and because they aren’t afraid of using their power. And now they get to sit on their hands and fume over the fact that Greene and Gosar are back.

CNN also notes that Reps. Lauren Boebert of Colorado and Scott Perry of Pennsylvania have been added to the House Oversight Committee as well, a significant victory for America First lawmakers.

“The addition of the hardliners will give them the ability to shape some of the most aggressive investigations into the Biden administration,” writes CNN.

One can only hope so.

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Five dramatic, colorful moments from McCarthy’s Speakership fight

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was elected Speaker of the House early Saturday morning, after weeks of haggling and a historic 15 roll call votes on the floor.

The lengthy Speakership fight — the first in a century to go past one ballot — played out largely in front of the public, as members repeatedly voted and sometimes negotiated on the floor of the House before C-SPAN’s cameras.

The battle for Speaker, particularly its culmination on Friday night and Saturday morning, produced a number of memorable moments. Here are five of the most dramatic and colorful:

Republicans rush back to Washington

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) embraces Rep.-elect Wesley Hunt (R-Texas)

Two Republican congressmen — Reps. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) and Wesley Hunt (R-Texas) — rushed back to the Capitol on Friday to vote for McCarthy.

Buck had said he would return for Friday evening votes after being gone during the day for a “non-emergency medical procedure” he had to undergo back in his home state.

But Hunt had to change his plans. He returned home to Texas Friday morning to spend time with his wife and newborn son, who was born prematurely on Monday and spent time in the neonatal intensive care unit.

“Willie needs his father and Emily needs her husband,” Hunt said in a tweet. “Today, I’ll be returning home to hold my son and be at my wife’s side. It’s my intention to get back into the fight as soon as possible.”

Both were McCarthy supporters and McCarthy's Speaker math meant he needed both of their votes to prevail.

Hunt flew back to Washington later Friday and was in the chamber in time to vote the first time his name was called, while Buck arrived in time to vote when they circled back to his name.

Both received a round of applause from their Republican colleagues.

Lawmaker physically restrained by colleague

Rep. Michael D. Rogers (R-Ala.) is taken away form Reps. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) and Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.)

Perhaps the more tense — and chaotic — moment of the night came after McCarthy lost his 14th Speakership vote, one Republicans were confident would be their last.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) was among the last lawmakers to vote and because only one of the other five holdout Republicans — Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) — had changed their vote to "present," a "present" vote from Gaetz wouldn't be enough to put McCarthy over the finish. McCarthy needed an affirmative vote from the Florida Republican.

Gaetz voted "present."

With tensions rising, a heated argument broke out between Gaetz and several McCarthy backers and Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) appeared to take a step toward Gaetz before he was physically pulled back by Rep. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.), eliciting gasps in the chamber.

Greene gets Trump on the line

As chaos ensued between then 14th and 15th votes, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) had President Trump on the phone in an effort to whip the final votes for McCarthy.

A widely-circulated photo from Friday night showed Greene holding up her phone to Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.), one the last six Republican holdouts. Rosendale appeared to refuse the phone call, whose caller ID read “DT.”

Greene later confirmed to The Hill that the phone call was in fact from Trump. 

“It was the perfect phone call,” she added in a post on Twitter, a reference to Trump's comment about the phone call at the center of his first impeachment.

Trump also reportedly called other Republican holdouts on behalf of McCarthy and McCarthy credited Trump for helping him win the 15th ballot.

Republicans rush to stay in session after McCarthy apparently locks down votes

House Republicans rush to change their vote to adjourn

With Republicans seemingly at an impasse after a 14th failed vote, Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) moved to adjourn the House until Monday. 

The motion seemed to have enough GOP support to pass, but then McCarthy and other Republicans rushed to the dais to their change votes and stay in session.

McCarthy had seemingly locked down the votes he needed.

Several Republican lawmakers chanted “one more time” in anticipation of what would be the 15th and final ballot. With all six Republican holdouts changing their vote to "present," McCarthy was able to secure the Speakership with 216 votes just after midnight on Saturday.  

Democrats troll their Republican colleagues

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.)

As Republican infighting continued throughout the week, Democrats watched with a level of amusement, frequently mocking their GOP counterparts.

Several Democratic members brought out buckets of popcorn amid the drawn-out process.

"We are breaking the popcorn out in the Dem Caucus till the Republicans get their act together," Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) said in a Twitter post on Tuesday, accompanied by a picture of large bucket of popcorn.

Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) was seen during Friday's votes sitting and reading “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F---” by Mark Manson.

After McCarthy clinched the Speakership on Saturday morning, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) also appeared to take a jab at the Republican conference, calling it an honor to “finally” welcome members to the 118th Congress.

Republicans knock Biden for not freeing Whelan in prisoner swap

A growing number of Republican lawmakers are criticizing President Biden for freeing a Russian arms dealer to secure WNBA star Brittney Griner’s release, and for failing to free former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan in the deal.

Biden on Thursday morning announced Griner was returning to the U.S. after she spent nearly 10 months in Russian custody, in exchange for the U.S. releasing infamous arms dealer Viktor Bout.

The administration had also sought the release of Whelan, who was arrested in Russia in 2018 on spying charges that he vehemently denies, but Biden on Thursday said Moscow is “treating Paul’s case different than Brittney’s.”

Republicans quickly issued statements expressing relief at Griner's release while condemning the president for snubbing Whelan. Many of the GOP lawmakers also expressed worry the deal would incentivize Moscow to imprison Americans in the future for leverage.

"The Biden administration has allowed Viktor Bout, a dangerous arms dealer who was convicted of conspiring to kill American law enforcement, to walk free,” Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), the House Armed Services Committee ranking member, said in a statement.

“This move to appease Vladimir Putin will only encourage further hostage taking by Russian security forces. While I welcome the release of Brittney Griner, I cannot help but think about Paul Whelan — as he has apparently been abandoned by the Biden administration,” Rogers added.

Biden said on Thursday his administration will "never give up” on securing Whelan's release.

Bout was serving a 25-year prison sentence on charges of conspiracy to kill U.S. nationals, kill U.S. employees, transfer and use of anti-aircraft missiles and support of a designated terrorist organization.

He has been accused of running massive arms shipments to sanctioned regimes in African and Middle Eastern countries, earning him the nicknames “Merchant of Death” and “Sanctions Buster.”

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), who introduced impeachment articles against Biden last year, said the swap marks another reason to push for his removal from office.

“Biden just returned the ‘Merchant of Death,’ an international arms dealer convicted of conspiring to kill Americans, to Putin and left former Marine Paul Whelan, who has been unjustly detained for over four years, to rot in a Russian prison,” wrote Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), the chairman of the Republican Study Committee, the largest conservative caucus in the House.

“Biden's now aiding both sides of the war,” Rep. Kevin Hern (R-Okla.), who will succeed Banks in the role, wrote in a retweet of Banks’s post.

Whelan himself spoke with CNN on Thursday from Russia, saying he was happy that Griner was released but adding he felt "greatly disappointed" that more had not been done to secure his freedom.

“My prayers are with Brittney Griner and her family as they heal from this,” Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) wrote on Twitter. "I hope Brittney continues to use her platform to keep the pressure to bring former Marine Paul Whelan home. Leaving Paul in Russia to Putin's whim would be a disgraceful abdication of Biden's leadership.”

Scott's home-state colleague, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), tweeted, “It is a bitter pill to swallow that Mr. Whelan remains in custody while we release the ‘Merchant of Death’ Viktor Bout back to Russia.”

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, expressed relief at Griner’s release while criticizing the continued detainment of Whelan and Marc Fogel, an American teacher detained in Russia for allegedly possessing 17 grams of medical marijuana in violation of Russian law.

“Unfortunately, the Biden Administration’s handling of this situation leaves behind other Americans, like veteran Marine Paul Whalen and teacher Marc Fogel,” Rubio wrote.

“What’s more, Putin and others have seen how detaining high-profile Americans on relatively minor charges can both distract American officials and cause them to release truly bad individuals who belong behind bars.” 

WHIP LIST: McCarthy searches for 218 GOP Speakership votes

A narrower-than-anticipated House Republican majority and a growing number of House Republicans expressing opposition to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) are threatening to derail his bid to be Speaker of the House.

McCarthy won his party’s nomination for Speaker this month but needs to secure a majority of all those casting a vote for a specific candidate in a Jan. 3 House floor vote in order to officially be elected Speaker.



Support from 218 House Republicans, marking a majority of the House, would shore up his position. 

A Speaker can be elected with fewer than 218 votes if there are absences, vacancies or some members vote “present,” but McCarthy does not have much wiggle room. Democrats will have around 213 seats, and all are expected to vote for a Democratic Speaker nominee. Republicans will have around 222 seats. 

McCarthy maintains confidence that he will win the Speakership, but around five House Republicans have already signaled they will not support McCarthy’s Speakership bid on the floor, likely already putting him under 218 and throwing his position into dangerous territory. Several others are withholding support, too, without necessarily saying they will vote against McCarthy on Jan. 3.

Opposition to McCarthy

Rep. Andy Biggs (Ariz.)

Biggs, a former chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, mounted a last-minute challenge to McCarthy for the House GOP’s Speakership nomination, when he got 31 votes to McCarthy’s 188, and five others voted for other candidates. After the nomination, Biggs said he will not vote for McCarthy to be Speaker.

“I do not believe he will ever get to 218 votes, and I refuse to assist him in his effort to get those votes,” Biggs tweeted.

He cited McCarthy’s not promising to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas as one reason for withholding support. On Tuesday, McCarthy called on Mayorkas to resign, saying House Republicans will investigate and consider opening an impeachment inquiry if he does not.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (Fla.) 

“Kevin McCarthy will revert to his establishment mean the moment he gets power, and that’s why there are enough of us now, a critical mass, standing as a bulwark against his ascension to the Speakership,” Gaetz said on former Trump adviser Stephen Bannon’s “War Room” show on Tuesday.

Gaetz additionally told reporters on Nov. 15 that he would vote for someone other than McCarthy on the House floor on Jan. 3.

Rep. Bob Good (Va.)

“I will not be supporting him on Jan. 3,” Good said on "John Fredericks Radio Show" on Tuesday. He added that he thinks there are “more than enough” members who are “resolved not to support him” and deny McCarthy the Speakership.

The freshman Virginia congressman, who ousted former Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-Va.) in a 2020 primary, previously said on the same radio show that he had confronted McCarthy about his tactics during a House GOP conference meeting before the Speaker nomination vote. Good took issue with a McCarthy-aligned PAC spending millions to support certain Republicans in primaries over others, and noted that McCarthy had endorsed Riggleman in his 2020 primary.

“He admitted there at the mic, though, that he spent money in these races based on who would support him for Speaker,” Good said.

Good has also said that he believes there are a “dozen or so” House Republicans who will oppose McCarthy on the House floor.

Rep. Ralph Norman (S.C.)

Norman’s opposition to McCarthy centers around the budget. Norman said he asked McCarthy to adopt a model seven-year budget crafted by the Republican Study Committee, which included $16.6 trillion in cuts over 10 years. 

“Just a solid 'no' led me to believe he's really not serious about it,” Norman said on Bannon’s “War Room” on Tuesday.

The slim House GOP majority, he added, provides an opportunity for hard-line conservative members to pressure McCarthy and push for their priorities.

Norman first revealed his opposition to McCarthy to Just the News, and clarified to Politico that he will vote for someone other than McCarthy to be Speaker – and will not vote “present.”

Rep. Matt Rosendale (Mont.) 

Rosendale, a freshman, has signaled opposition to McCarthy for Speaker.

“He wants to maintain the status quo, which consolidates power into his hands and a small group of individuals he personally selects. We need a leader who can stand up to a Democrat-controlled Senate and President Biden, and unfortunately, that isn’t Kevin McCarthy,” Rosendale said in a tweet after McCarthy was nominated to be Speaker. 

Additional McCarthy skeptics and unknowns

Several other conservative members have indicated that McCarthy has not yet earned their support, or declined to answer questions about McCarthy’s Speakership altogether. 

Rep. Scott Perry (Pa.)

Perry, the current chair of the House Freedom Caucus, has repeatedly said that McCarthy does not have support from 218 members.

“It's becoming increasingly perilous as we move forward,” Perry said of McCarthy’s position in an interview last week.

Perry has been pushing McCarthy and House GOP leadership to implement rules changes that, on the whole, would give more power to rank-and-file members and lessen that of leaders. But he is not committing to vote against McCarthy at this time. 

“I’m not making my position known,” Perry said in an interview last week. “I do have an open mind, but I also see what’s happening.”

Rep. Chip Roy (Texas)

Roy has similarly said that McCarthy does not have majority support for Speaker, but has not said how he intends to vote on the House floor on Jan. 3.

“Nobody has 218, and someone's going to have to earn 218,” Roy said last week.

In addition to also pushing for a more open process, Roy has expressed that he does not think House GOP leadership’s commitments to investigate the Biden administration are aggressive enough. He is also a supporter of withholding funding unless the Biden administration ends COVID-19 vaccine mandates for the military.

Rep. Dan Bishop (N.C.)

Bishop said that his vote for Speaker hinges on more than rules changes.

“What it is about more now is whether somebody can seize the initiative to come up with a creative approach to sort of recalibrate how this place works in hopes of moving off the status quo and making it effective for the American people,” Bishop said in a brief interview last week.

“At this moment, I'm open to anyone seizing the initiative in the way that I described,” Bishop said.

Rep. Andrew Clyde (Ga.)

“Well, I will tell you that you’ll know that on January the third,” Clyde said on "John Fredericks Radio Show" on Monday when asked whether he would vote for McCarthy. “We’re still having negotiations.”

Rep. Barry Moore (Ala.)

Moore said in a brief interview last week that he is waiting to see how negotiations on rules changes go, but he was not necessarily a hard “no” on McCarthy.

“We won't really know until Jan. 3 how things shake out,” he said.

Hard-line members supporting McCarthy

Not all members of the House Freedom Caucus or the more confrontational wing are united in their antagonism of McCarthy. In fact, some are strong supporters.

Rep. Jim Jordan (Ohio)

Some conservatives have suggested Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a founding Freedom Caucus member who challenged McCarthy for GOP leader in 2018, as an alternative Speaker candidate. But Jordan, who is likely to chair the House Judiciary Committee, has thrown his support behind McCarthy.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.)

The firebrand Georgia congresswoman was once a doubter of McCarthy’s ability to become Speaker, but has now become one of his most vocal supporters for the post. Greene, who has said McCarthy will have to “give me a lot of power” to make the GOP base happy, said she is working to convince her fellow conservative members to vote for McCarthy.

Greene has warned that moderate Republicans could join Democrats and elect a compromise moderate Speaker, but McCarthy skeptics have dismissed that prospect as a red herring.

Rep. Randy Weber (Texas)

Weber, a House Freedom Caucus member, said he is pro-McCarthy for Speaker.

“He's poured his heart and guts and soul out into building this conference,” Weber told The Hill last week. “I've been here 10 years. ... I've never seen the conference in better shape than it is now.”

McCarthy wins GOP vote for Speakership handily over right-wing challenge

House Republicans nominated Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) to be Speaker in a closed-door conference meeting on Tuesday after he faced a last-minute protest challenge from Rep. Andy Biggs (Ariz.), a former chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus.

McCarthy won easily, 188 to 31, in the internal conference meeting. But in the eyes of Biggs and his supporters, the goal was merely to demonstrate that McCarthy lacks the support to seize the gavel when the full House meets to choose the Speaker early next year.

The 31 votes opposing McCarthy easily met that threshold, raising immediate questions about how McCarthy — who had failed to ascend to Speaker in 2015 — will make up the difference between now and then. 

The secret-ballot House Republican Conference vote is just the first step for McCarthy to take hold of the gavel. He must win a majority in a public vote on the House floor — at least 218 votes, assuming a fully sworn-in House — on the first day of the next Congress on Jan. 3.

Tuesday’s vote came as the final breakdown of House control remains unknown, with around a dozen races undecided and election projections putting Republicans just one vote shy of securing the majority.

The exact size of the slimmer-than-expected majority will have major implications for the rest of McCarthy’s path to the gavel, since he will be able to spare only a handful of defectors on the House floor. Rules changes and committee assignments may be among the bargaining chips McCarthy uses to woo opponents back to his side before Jan. 3. 

Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), a Freedom Caucus member who nominated Biggs for Speaker during the conference meeting on Tuesday, said that his position on McCarthy’s chances at becoming Speaker remained unchanged after Tuesday’s nomination.

“No one has 218 (or close, as needed). We have to sit down and establish the fundamental changes needed,” Roy said in a statement.

In a press conference, McCarthy said he thinks he will have the votes by January to become Speaker, pointing out that former Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and current Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) similarly fell short of 218 votes in their internal party nominations before later securing the Speakership on the House floor. But he acknowledged it could be tough.

"Look, we have our work cut out for us. We've got to have a small majority. We've got to listen to everybody in our conference," McCarthy said.

But Biggs said on former Trump adviser Stephen Bannon’s “War Room” podcast on Tuesday that there are a “significant number of hard noes” for McCarthy in the House GOP.

The Freedom Caucus is pushing for changes to internal conference rules that, on the whole, would chip away at leadership’s power and give more to individual members — a major dynamic at play in Biggs’s challenge to McCarthy. 

One of those requests is restoring any member’s ability to make a motion to vacate the chair, which would force a recall vote on the Speaker. Then-Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), a Freedom Caucus co-founder, made the motion in 2015, contributing to a rebellion that ended in former GOP Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) resigning from Congress later that year.

McCarthy is opposed to the change, arguing that it would give too much power to Democratic members.

The House GOP conference was set to vote on rules on Wednesday, much to the frustration of Freedom Caucus members, who requested that a vote on the rules happen before leadership elections.

But in what may be a sign of McCarthy being willing to negotiate more on rules, he announced on Tuesday that some rules changes would be considered on Wednesday and others considered after Thanksgiving, according to a person with knowledge of the meeting.

Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), a 36-year House veteran, acknowledged that McCarthy has his work cut out for him.

"Nothing's easy," said Upton, who's retiring at the end of this term. "He's going to work hard, I'm sure."

Upton said the dynamics remind him of the race to replace Boehner in 2015, when conservative opposition forced McCarthy to drop out of the contest. But with one major difference.

"Unlike before when, in essence, Kevin threw in the towel, he's not going to do it this time," Upton said. "They had an easy path before when Kevin backed off. He's not backing off this time."

Both supporters and opponents of McCarthy acknowledged a major difference between the internal nomination vote and the Jan. 3 vote that could improve McCarthy’s level of support: On the House floor, votes will be public and not secret — likely influencing those who do not want to upset McCarthy to vote for him.

Biggs launched a late challenge to McCarthy on Monday night and did not make a presentation beforehand at a House GOP leadership candidate forum, during which McCarthy got standing ovations.

“We have a new paradigm here, and I think the country wants a different direction from the House of Representatives,” Biggs said on Newsmax Monday night. He has previously expressed disappointment with McCarthy downplaying the prospects of impeachment for Biden administration officials like Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

Reps. Michael Cloud (Texas) and Ralph Norman (S.C.) seconded Roy’s nomination of Biggs in the conference meeting on Tuesday, according to a source in the room. Rep. Kelly Armstrong (N.D.) was among those who gave a speech in support of McCarthy.

Not all members of the Freedom Caucus agree with the tactic of challenging McCarthy, however.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), once a doubter of McCarthy’s ability to become Speaker, has become one of his most vocal supporters for the post — as she hopes to secure favorable committee assignments in the next Congress. A slim majority, she fears, could cause moderate Republicans to join Democrats and elect a compromise moderate candidate.

“We have to elect Kevin McCarthy,” Greene told reporters Monday. “I can’t support a challenge that will allow the Democrats to elect their own Speaker by pulling some of ours.”

The Speakership has been a longtime goal for McCarthy, who has been active in Republican politics since his young adulthood.

“Can I be Speaker?” McCarthy said in jest to a member presiding over the House at one point during an overnight, record-breaking speech on the House floor last year, when he delayed passage of a major Democratic tax, climate and spending bill.

After rising to minority leader in the California State Assembly, the Bakersfield, Calif., Republican was elected to the U.S. House in 2006, eventually rising through the leadership ranks from chief deputy whip to whip to majority leader.

But Biggs’s challenge is the latest chapter in the saga of McCarthy battling and wooing the House GOP’s right flank. 

First came the conservative opposition that sank his 2015 Speakership bid, and then in 2018, Rep. Jim Jordan (Ohio), another member of the House Freedom Caucus, challenged him in the race for GOP leader.

But as the top House Republican for the last four years, McCarthy has given the right flank a seat at the table, unlike some of his leadership predecessors. 

Jordan is set to become chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and is fully supporting McCarthy. Greene was invited to participate in McCarthy’s “Commitment to America” policy platform rollout in September.

And perhaps most notably, McCarthy quickly mended his relationship with former President Trump after saying that Trump bore responsibility for the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack, traveling to Mar-a-Lago to meet with him weeks later.

Trump threw his support behind McCarthy for Speaker before last week’s elections. McCarthy has not endorsed the former president running for a third time in 2024, which Trump is expected to announce Tuesday night.

Mike Lillis contributed.

Updated 6:10 p.m.

Greene: Any McCarthy challenge would be ‘bad strategy’

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) argued against any challenge to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) atop the GOP conference, worrying that it could have unintended negative consequences in a slim majority.

"I actually think that’s a bad strategy when we’re looking at having a very razor-thin majority, with potentially 219 — we’re talking about one vote," Greene said on former Trump adviser Stephen Bannon’s "War Room" podcast Monday morning.

Greene’s comments came amid reports that Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), a former chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, is weighing a protest run against McCarthy.

Biggs told reporters Monday afternoon that no one currently has 218 votes to be Speaker. His spokesman told The Hill there will be an alternative challenger to McCarthy but did not confirm it would be Biggs.

A handful of moderate House Republicans could join Democrats to support a compromise Speaker candidate such as Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), Greene warned Monday.

"It's very, very risky right now to produce a leadership challenge, especially for Speaker of the House, when they are going to open the door and allow Liz Cheney, possibly, to become Speaker," Greene said on the podcast.

Cheney will not return to Congress next year, but House rules allow for a nonmember to be elected Speaker. Such a scenario, though, is not considered serious, and she is not campaigning for the post.

Greene last year doubted McCarthy would have the votes to be Speaker but has since grown close with the GOP leader. She was included at a House GOP platform event in Pennsylvania in September, and she is hoping to be placed on the House Oversight and Reform Committee after McCarthy vowed to restore her membership in committees as Speaker.

“I think that to be the best Speaker of the House and to please the base, he’s going to give me a lot of power and a lot of leeway,” Greene said in a New York Times magazine profile published last month.

House Republicans are scheduled to elect conference leaders on Tuesday, which includes nominating a Speaker candidate. The nominee needs a majority of House Republicans in a secret ballot to get the nomination and then a majority — at least 218 votes in a fully sworn-in chamber — on the House floor to win the Speakership on the first day of the new Congress in January.

Conservative members of the House, including multiple members of the House Freedom Caucus, have withheld support for McCarthy over his resistance to rules change demands from the caucus that would chip away at leadership’s power.

Biggs told reporters last week that McCarthy’s reluctance to bring up impeachment articles — he has said multiple times that he would not pursue a “political” impeachment — made him question whether McCarthy should be Speaker.

The Arizona congressman has introduced impeachment articles against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

“I think that his statement recently that we shouldn't impeach Secretary Mayorkas indicates maybe we're not gonna be as aggressive going forward as we should be,” Biggs told reporters last week.

How the midterms could impact the Russia-Ukraine war

The midterm elections, which are largely being fought over inflation, crime and other domestic issues, could have a huge impact on America’s role in the Russia-Ukraine war. 

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the likely Speaker in a GOP majority, has talked about how Ukraine would not get a “blank check” from the U.S. with Republicans in control of the House.  

GOP victories by pro-Trump candidates in the House and Senate could also amplify isolationist voices that have questioned the Biden administration’s steady spending in support of Ukraine.  

“I just see a freight train coming, and that is Trump and his operation turning against aid for Ukraine,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) told MSNBC last month, underscoring a widely-held concern among Democrats. He added that there could be “a real crisis where the House Republican majority would refuse to support additional aid to Ukraine.” 

Statements from GOP lawmakers such as Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.) have added to the anxiety. During a rally last week, she said a GOP majority would not spend “another penny” on Ukraine.  

To be sure, there are many voices within the GOP that have been highly supportive of Ukraine during the conflict with Russia, including Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).  

Sen. James Risch (Idaho) and Rep. Michael McCaul (Texas), the top Republicans in the foreign affairs committees in each chamber, have been leading voices in support of arming Ukraine, often pushing for Biden to do more.   

Danielle Pletka, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a former Republican Senate foreign policy staff member, said a majority of Republicans want to back Ukraine against Russia’s aggression.  

“For me, it is about the great battle of the substantive versus the loud,” she said, placing figures like Greene in the latter category. “But these are not people who have any power at all in the House or the Senate.”

But it is also true that McCarthy’s comments reflect skepticism about U.S. economic and military support for Ukraine within his conference. 

And the first test of GOP resistance to additional Ukraine aid could come before the end of this session, with the Biden administration expected to push for another aid package during the lame-duck period before January.

Rep. Jim Banks (Ind.), chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, said McCarthy was “exactly right” with his no-blank-check comments.  

“Now Democrats are screaming and saying 'Well, McCarthy says that, we know he's gonna be Speaker of the House. We're gonna pass another $50 billion in the lame duck.' It’s just absurd. It’s insanity,” he told Fox News last month.  

That package is likely to pass with Democrats still in control of the House and Senate no matter the results of the midterms. But the level of GOP opposition could indicate how much of the caucus remains on board with strong support for Kyiv. And Banks’s remarks could find even more support if the U.S. economy tips into a recession in 2023.  

Ukraine is likely to be watching the results of the midterms with some anxiety, though Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov told the BBC last week that he was confident that both parties would keep up support for Kyiv after meetings with lawmakers.  

“I got a lot of signals that it doesn't matter who will steer … bipartisan support for Ukraine will be continued,” he said. “I believe in that.” 

Andres Kasekamp, a political science professor at the University of Toronto who studies the war, said the GOP is “exploiting” the narrative that America must choose between investing in the U.S. on one hand or helping Ukraine on the other. He accused some in the GOP of abandoning the idea that upholding a rules-based international order is in the U.S. interest.  

“That used to be something that was common sense and in the DNA of the Republican Party,” he said. “Now the sort of populists on the far right of the Republican Party have changed the narrative, and it’s dangerous.” 

So far, Americans remain largely united behind U.S. support for Ukraine, thought recent polls have shown a growing partisan divide. 

Reuters-Ipsos poll conducted in early October found that 81 percent of Democrats and 66 percent of Republicans agreed that the U.S. should continue to support Ukraine, despite nuclear warnings from Russia.  

Wall Street Journal poll this month found that 81 percent of Democrats support additional financial aid for Ukraine, compared to 35 percent of Republicans. And almost half of Republicans said the U.S. is doing too much, up from 6 percent at the start of the war.  

“It plays right into the hands of Putin,” Kasekamp said of skepticism toward Ukraine support. “The Russians from the beginning have tried to dissuade the West from helping the Ukrainians.” 

Former President Trump has said current U.S. policy risks World War III, advocating instead for the U.S. to pressure Ukraine to open peace talks with Russia.  

Last month, he found rare common cause with progressive Democrats in the House, who released and then retracted a letter calling on President Biden to ramp up diplomatic efforts to end the war.  

Tuesday’s election could bolster the ranks of Ukraine skeptics. J.D. Vance, the Trump-backed GOP Senate nominee in Ohio, said earlier this year that he didn’t care about Ukraine, and wanted Biden to focus on the U.S. border.  

Pletka, the former GOP staffer, said she worried that the far right and far left — for different reasons — will decide to capitulate to Putin and pressure Ukraine to take a peace deal.  

“I could absolutely see the appeasement wing of the Democratic Party having a meeting of minds, if you can call them that, with the fortress America-first wing of the Republican party and doing the wrong thing,” she said.  

Despite Ukraine projecting confidence in continued support from both parties, Suriya Evans-Pritchard Jayanti, a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, said Kyiv has cause for concern.  

“Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy learned the hard way in 2019 how much domestic U.S. politics can affect Ukraine’s reality,” she wrote last week, referring to Trump’s first impeachment trial.  

“He and his team would be right to worry about next week’s polls. Whether or not the GOP will follow through on its threats to scale back Ukraine aid is impossible to predict, but it is definitely a real possibility,” she added. 

Greene: If McCarthy wants to make base happy, he’ll ‘give me a lot of power’

Firebrand Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) warned that the Republican base would be “very unhappy” if House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) does not give her more power if Republicans take control of the chamber next year.

In a New York Times Magazine profile on Monday examining Greene’s rise in influence and future, the Georgia congresswoman indicated that McCarthy would have to adopt her “a lot more aggressive” approach toward President Biden, whom she has introduced multiple articles of impeachment against.

“I think that to be the best Speaker of the House and to please the base, he’s going to give me a lot of power and a lot of leeway,” Greene said. “And if he doesn’t, they’re going to be very unhappy about it. I think that’s the best way to read that. And that’s not in any way a threat at all. I just think that’s reality.”

McCarthy, who is aiming to become Speaker in a House majority, has given the confrontational right flank of the House GOP a seat at the table as he aims to shore up support. Greene was in attendance at a House GOP “Commitment to America” midterm policy and platform rollout event in Pennsylvania last month.

Greene was stripped of her committee assignments soon after being sworn into office as punishment for her posts about conspiracy theories and liking a Facebook comment that called for the assassination of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). 

McCarthy has pledged to restore Greene’s committee assignments, suggesting at one point that she could have even “better committees” than the ones she was assigned to before – the Education and Labor and Budget committees.

“I would like to be on Oversight,” Greene told the New York Times Magazine. “I would also like to be on Judiciary. I think both of those I’d be good on.”

Republicans on both the House Oversight and Reform and House Judiciary committees have been preparing to bring a spotlight to the business activities of Biden’s son Hunter Biden’s business activities and social media suppression of an election-season 2020 New York Post story revealing the contents of his laptop.

The committees have helped to skyrocket Republican members to stardom in the past.

“I completely deserve it. I’ve been treated like [expletive]. I have been treated like garbage,” Greene said.

Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), ranking member on the House Oversight and Reform Committee who is in line for the chairmanship in a GOP majority, indicated that he would welcome Greene to his committee.

“If Americans entrust Republicans with the majority next Congress, we look forward to the Steering Committee adding new GOP members to the committee like Rep. Greene with energy and a strong interest in partnering with us in our efforts to rein in the unaccountable Swamp and to hold the Biden Administration accountable for its many self-inflicted crises that it has unleashed on the American people,” Comer told New York Times Magazine.

VIDEO: Trump Ready To ‘Run Like The Wind’ And Show the Jackals Who the Lion Is

By Dr. Derek Ellerman

Hoo boy. Donald Trump is known for being flashy, and ever since he formally entered the world of politics, he’s been known for producing (or at least sharing) some incredible, heavy-duty videos. 

Some, in fact, have been made by fans and supporters – and many times, those are just as good. 

While Trump has been flirting with another run for the Presidency – just a few weeks ago at a rally in North Carolina, he vowed “We are going to drain that damn swamp!” – it seems every move he makes begs us to ask the question of ‘will he or won’t he.’

The latest video shared by Trump (apparently produced by an outfit called The United Spot) will no doubt have his supporters raring and ready to go. 

Note: this video isn’t the one I’m referring to, but is hilarious nevertheless:

RELATED: Trump Says Biden’s ‘Armageddon’ Comments About Russia Is ‘Saying Exactly The Wrong Thing’

Enter The Lion

Trump’s video is overlaid with an epic, dramatic speech from Christopher Walken’s ‘Uncle Mike’ character from the early 2000’s film Poolhall Junkies. 

It’s a fairly well-known piece of film lore – legendary quarterback Tom Brady used it in a hype video before the playoffs in 2020.

The speech is a metaphor for the lion as king of the jungle – and he’s still king, even if some of the other, lesser denizens of the jungle need a reminder every now and then. 

Watch: 

Here’s the full monologue that plays throughout the video: 

“You got this lion, he’s the king of the jungle. Huge mane out to here. He’s laying down under a tree, in the middle of Africa, he’s so big, he’s so hot! He doesn’t wanna move. Now, the little lion cubs they start messing with him, biting his tail, biting his ears, he doesn’t do anything.

The lioness, she starts messing with him, coming over making trouble, still nothing. Now the other animals, they notice this, and they start to move in. The jackals, hyenas, they’re barking at him, laughing at him.

They nip his toes and eat the food that’s in his domain. They do this and they get closer and closer and bolder and bolder, till one day…that lion gets up and tears the shit outta everybody, runs like the wind, eats everything in his path, ’cause every once in a while, the lion has to show the jackals who he is.”

The jackals, as the video proceeds, are revealed to be Democrat impeachers Adam Schiff, Jerry Nadler, (who, it turns out, apparently knew that the first impeachment of Trump was unconstitutional, but went through with it anyway) Nancy Pelosi, and Never Trump Republicans Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger.

The latter have already learned who the lion is – with Cheney losing her Republican primary in a landslide, and Kinzinger getting redistricted out of office by Democrats as their thanks for all his hard work on their behalf. 

Actually, it’s notable in how few jackals are shown. There are hundreds, if not thousands more that could be portrayed in this context. 

RELATED: Trump Celebrates ‘Lightweight’ Never Trumper ‘Liddle’ Ben Sasse’s Resignation From Senate

Amazing Videos

After the recent FBI raid of his home at Mar-a-Lago, Trump released another brilliant video – teasing that “The best is yet to come.” 

The video opens up with an ominous warning from Trump, and even more ominous thunderstorm sounds. 

After going through the economic and foreign policy calamities of the Biden administration, it ends on a positive note – with Trump sounding exactly like a man who is preparing to run for office again. 

Watch:

Trump isn’t the only one putting out melt-your-face videos either.

RELATED: Poll Shows Conservative Latinos With a Massive Swing Toward Republicans

The GOP Learning To Make Sweet Videos

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, seen by many as the eventual successor to Trump, kicked it up a notch in his own campaign for re-election. 

The former Navy man parodied Top Gun to teach conservatives how to deal with a hostile media. 

The results are incredible. 

Watch: 

Not to be outdone by any means, MAGA Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene also took to the skies – but in a helicopter. 

She wasn’t without weapons though, she brought along an AR and invited supporters to win a trip to hunt feral hogs with her. 

If Republicans can keep churning out videos like this, conservatives can say goodbye to Hollywood altogether. 

VOTE NOW: Who had the best video?

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