“Look, like Pearl Harbor Day rolls around every year, January 6th is going to roll around every year and it’s treated like just another day on the calendar,” said Rep. Susan Wild (D-Pa.). “I want us to continue until we get a speaker. It’s ridiculous.”
The House returns to session on Friday in what is expected to be McCarthy’s 12th attempt to win. Hours after appearing to gather some momentum late Thursday by making specific concessions to hardline members of the GOP convention, the GOP leader and his leadership team convened a conference call Friday morning to update members on the status of negotiations. There is hope of swinging votes in his direction.
But great uncertainty lingered Friday morning, with members of the Trump-aligned Freedom Caucus still not expressing their support for McCarthy and a handful of holdouts continuing to show their opposition to him. Absent on the GOP side of the aisle, McCarthy supporter Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) is predicting at least three on the ballot Friday.
All the while, McCarthy’s moderate allies, many of whom represent districts won by Biden, are increasingly interested in the number of concessions being made to the right.
“If this is the face of the GOP in 2024, we will be defeated in the presidential and congressional elections,” said centrist Rep. Dan Bacon (R-Neb.). “We would have won more seats in 2022, but many feared the GOP’s peak before then.”
Underscoring the contrast between the historic anniversary and the ongoing speaker drama, a top aide to former Speaker Nancy Pelosi took the stand Friday against members of the Oath Guards — who were charged with treason on Jan. 6. Other assistants endured because they had sought refuge from the gang two years ago. An associate of a Capitol Police officer who died hours after the riots also filed a lawsuit against Trump late Thursday.
In addition, members of the gallery caucus of Democratic lawmakers who stayed during the attack planned to host a luncheon for Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police Department officials. The group, which included the Wild, planned to sit together on the floor during Friday’s proceedings.
Biden presented Presidential Citizens Medals on Friday to key figures who resisted Trump’s efforts to reverse his 2020 loss — from state officials to Capitol Police to election workers.
Back on the Hill, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) — one of McCarthy’s staunchest critics — hovered over the Democratic side of the aisle in Thursday’s session, and said in a Fox News interview that they were committed. Won’t leave the House floor, inadvertently helping GOP leader give-and-take.
“My conversations with Democrats have mostly been about making sure they don’t leave the floor for dinners or fundraisers or whatever,” Gates said on “The Ingraham Angle.” “They should be there so that there is a denominator in the equation to elect the Speaker.”
He told Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Democrat, that his group has gotten everything it wants from McCarthy so far, but doesn’t plan to vote for him yet, a person familiar with the conversation said on condition of anonymity.
In fact, there are Democrats Held together All 11 speaker ballots so far have shown no will to rescue Republicans from their predicament. They are gearing up for a weekend stay and whipping up Republican efforts to adjourn the House.
Any talks between Democratic and Republican lawmakers about ways to end the speakership remain preliminary and have not resulted in any firm agreement.
Sarah Ferris contributed to this report.