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The Lead with Jake Tapper
Now: McCarthy Appears to Suffer Defeat on 9th Speaker Ballot; Now: McCarthy Nominated for 10th Speaker Ballot. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired January 05, 2023 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: And welcome to a special edition of THE LEAD. And I'm Jake Tapper. My colleague Erin Burnett is staying with me.
Right now, House members are voting for a speaker for the third time today, the ninth time overall this week. Kevin McCarthy appears to be headed to his ignominious ninth defeat in his attempt to be speaker of this House.
This historic fight now surpassing the last time it went to multiple ballots, the prolonged 1923 ballot, which was decided on the ninth ballot. This one will not be decided on the ninth ballot, it looks. Yet for the first time this week, there are some positive signs for the Republican leader amid the continued dysfunction, his allies say.
One of the anti-McCarthy rebels says progress is being made in negotiations after McCarthy offered more major concessions. But allies of McCarthy, they say they are drawing a line in the sand when it comes to whether or not a committee gavel chairmanship goes to the hold-outs.
It is not clear a deal will even mete McCarthy the total of 218 votes he needs to be speaker, to be frank. Republicans Andy Biggs, and Lauren Boebert and Matt Gaetz and Bob Good, they say they are firmly in the never Kevin camp. Never. If just one more House Republican continues to join those four, he can only afford to lose four, McCarthy will never wield the speaker's gavel. That is without help from Democrats or changing the rules in some ways.
Let's go straight to CNN chief congressional correspondent Manu Raju who's live for us on Capitol Hill.
Manu, we keep hearing progress is being made. Progress is being made. Kevin McCarthy is well on his way to breaking records, certainly for this and last century, for the number of ballots this is going to. What are you hearing about the negotiation process?
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's going to take a while, Jake, and that's what we are expecting. Those negotiations are not expected to wrap up anytime soon. The Republicans are racing for this to go into tomorrow. This will potentially go into the weekend, maybe even into next week. It is really, really just a fluid situation. After the ninth, ballot
they may vote on the tenth ballot. The reason why: they don't have the votes at the moment to adjourn the chamber. That is what Kevin McCarthy had hope to do at the beginning of the day. They need 218 votes to do that.
Democrats want McCarthy to twist in the wind. They are not giving him those votes at the moment. Some of those are hard-liners on the Republican side are not giving him enough votes either. They have been trying to work that out. We will see if they ultimately get the votes to adjourn.
If not, we are going to go to a tenth ballot. And that will give Kevin McCarthy and show that this will be the longest speaker's race since the mid 1800s, when we go to the 10th ballot.
But Kevin McCarthy believes that these votes will break his way when a deal is reached. That's what he told me. Yes, I have not gotten those 20 votes back, but wait until the deal is reached and then things will change. In the meantime, Jake, there has been tension, growing on the right.
I just had a chance to speak to one of McCarthy's allies, a staunch conservative, Marjorie Taylor Greene, who is aligned with many of these on the far right who are blocking McCarthy's ascension. She said it does not make the Republican Party look good. She's pressuring her colleagues to allow McCarthy to get the gavel. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): I think the American people, no matter how you vote, are sick and tired of drama. And this is nothing but drama. We are on multiple days now with multiple candidates from this group.
So, I'm not sure how Lauren Boebert on one hand can demand so much out of Kevin McCarthy, but then demand nothing out of someone else and be willing to vote for them to be speaker. That's not serious. I don't think that's leadership. And I really see it as more obstruction than progress.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RAJU: So, that last part referring to a similar concern of congressman from Colorado, but someone who has been on the other side on this issue, Lauren Boebert, who has been one of the people who is seen as almost certainly there is no chance of Kevin McCarthy winning for support. Boebert has nominated another person, Kevin Hern, as her candidate. He's the chairman of a separate Republican caucus within the larger Republican conference.
But Marjorie Taylor Greene taking aim at Boebert, suggesting that she should -- that she's not being serious in pushing a candidate who has no chance I get into hundred 18 votes.
Jake, that is where we are right now. Kevin McCarthy has the most votes of any Republican. But he does not have a path yet to 218 votes. He is not dropping out of this race. At the moment, people like Marjorie Taylor Greene are sticking with Kevin McCarthy and those are liners are not backing up their push for an alternative candidate.
So, this is expected to drag on potentially through the day today, potentially beyond, Jake.
But no end in sight that McCarthy believes eventually they get there. It is just not clear how and when.
TAPPER: That's s right. In 1856, it went to 133 ballots and it lasted two months.
The Solomonic wisdom of Congressman Marjorie Taylor Greene, its' good to see.
We have with us right now, former Congressman Denver Riggleman, Republican of the great Commonwealth of Virginia.
We had Rodney Davis here earlier. He got to see the Republicans that beat him in the primary, Mary Miller, who is one of these MAGA -- ultra MAGA, mega MAGA types, voting against McCarthy every time. You are in a similar situation, although it wasn't through the will of the people. You have conventions in Virginia. That's crazy, but that's a separate issue.
But you have conventions, and Bob Good beat you at a convention. Your big offense, you officiated over an interracial same-sex marriage, god forbid. But back to the subject at hand, you have some insight into Bob Good, Congressman Bob Good, who was making a point of being one of these four hell no, never Kevin guys, because you are one of his constituents. So, you hear from him.
DENVER RIGGLEMAN, FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: It's sort of crazy, you know, how things work out, and people are sending me emails that Bob Good is putting out right now, and fundraising, making money off this is a really, I mean, this is how they do things.
I was reading down to the end of his email, it really is an appeal to righteousness, you know, as far as Bob Good is concerned. And I think -- I did something crazy when I read the email. I looked at the PVI, the partisan voting index of every single district and did an average. And it's our R plus 27. One of the lowest of mine are R plus 15. So --
TAPPER: You're going to translate what that means.
RIGGLEMAN: OK. So, it's a number of Republicans over Democrats in that specific districts that stood registered for vote. It is a Cook partisan voting index, the PVI.
So, the lowest PVI is about R plus 15. The highest is R plus 55, which means they're 55 percent more Republicans who are voting or voted for that candidate and Democrats. And then when I saw that the average was are plus 27 for the 20 people voting against McCarthy, there is no blowback in these districts.
It's just like my district. There's not committee blowback. By the way, anybody in R plus ten district or over, they could switch their vote now it is not going to bother them.
And when I read the 27-page screed that looks like it was from the mouth from Bob Good on his fundraising, the one he's putting out there, the thing that struck me is the same thing that happened in January 6th. There is an appeal to righteousness. It's the right thing to do. We have to do it, nothing can change my vote.
So, I'm just -- I'm just going to humbly summit, you know, to this panel. It is going to be very difficult for Kevin McCarthy to win if that is the direction that they are going.
TAPPER: The incentive structure, we talked about this before, Kasie. The incentive structure in the way Congress now functions in the media world where people are in their own silos and echo chambers. Also in these redistricted congressional district, where you the incentive is to never try to work across the aisle.
What we are hearing is, why would Bob Good, I mean, other than it's the right thing to do, why would he ever try to work in a reasonable way with people with whom he disagrees?
KASIE HUNT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: All of the levers that leaders in Congress used to have to bring people along are basically gone. It is a combination of things that have happened inside the building and inside the institution where they have done things that gotten rid of earmarks that leaders can say, hey, come along with me. I will give you a couple tens of thousands of dollars for that project in your district. They don't have that option anymore.
And then there's the outside pressures as well. There is the conservative alternative media ecosystem that has risen in a way that has allowed many of these members to become better known than the leadership in the House of Representatives. That never used to be the case.
We've joked a little bit I think on the set about Congress being a lot like high school. I actually think it is, mostly because peer pressure is a real thing. People want to be included. They want to be part of a group. They don't want to feel ostracized.
What we are seeing here is a group of people who, A, they can stick together with each other, and, B, they don't care what the other group thinks, they're fine to be the outsiders. And so, even that sort of social pressure of like, hey, you're making it really miserable for the rest of us, can you please, you know, get it together and get in line. I mean, it actually works remarkably high in the Congress. It doesn't work with these people.
TAPPER: But, Dana, let me ask you about this because you've been talking to a bunch of, I don't know, of centrist Republicans is the right term in this day and age, but more establishment Republicans or Republicans who just want this to be over with. They want Kevin McCarthy to be speaker, they don't really see a viable alternative.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Or traditional conservatives.
TAPPER: Yeah, we need to -- there are no centrist left, except for Denver. Their frustration with the process, they are frustrated with the process. They are frustrated with these 20, 21 rebels.
So, what? What are they going to do? Write a mean letter? Like what exactly, are they getting into arguments with these people? Or they just, I'm so mad?
BASH: Yeah. I mean, I'm so mad.
BASH: But I think the question is going to be whether or not McCarthy gives any more concessions, and whether there is going to be a bit of a dam that breaks. And that he is going to have water coming in from all sides of the conference because he's given a lot, and we talked about this all day. He gave a lot last night. He didn't get anything in return when it comes to what matters, which is votes.
And if he gives more in order to try and one more time, he is going to lose some of your former colleagues, who are more in the center. I've got a text from one who said if one of those people get to gavel, I'm out.
TAPPER: Denver, let me ask you. I'm sorry to interrupt. He keeps on giving concessions. Maybe some of them are good. He's changing the rules. He has democratizing the progress. He is making it easier for people to amend bills and legislation, et cetera.
Whether it's all good or bad, you can discuss. But beyond that, he's making concessions and not picking up any votes. I'm not a politician, but I thought the whole point of negotiation is, I give you, this and then you give me your vote. He's giving away the store and they are still, like thanks, but no thanks.
RIGGLEMAN: Oh, goodness, I was in counterterrorism. It's difficult to negotiate with political terrorist, number one, right?
Number two, no matter who gets elected, I think whatever happens, we are going to have a speaker in name only. We're going to have a SPINO. I think part of that is because -- thank you, I just trademarked it right here. We're going to have a SPINO no matter who does. It you have the group of 20, there is no 20.
I think -- my goodness, the points made, there really is no incentive structure for them to say, hey, I'm going to vote for McCarthy right now. They are getting votes. They are able to raise money. What a great time they're having right now.
By the way, they are just playing tougher, right, that is the issue. All they have to do is sit there and watch things go, right?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF CORRESPONDENT: It's way more successful than they thought.
RIGGLEMAN: Oh my goodness, they're having a great time. That's the issue we have.
TAPPER: Let's bring in --
AUDIE CORNISH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Do they have any areas of power that we may not see on the outside that can be wielded? Fundamentally, we are looking at a majority of the conference that are voting for Kevin McCarthy. There is nothing collective. There is no lever to people.
RIGGLEMAN: I was -- somebody said this earlier. And I know you want to go someone else. Everyone's like, oh, it's only 20 people holding us hostage. No, actually, it's about 230, because Democrats are going to vote. This is how it works.
If you can't deal with it, that is on you. There are levels of power.
TAPPER: We just have Congressman Don Bacon of Nebraska standing by. We will come right back to you to continue the conversation.
Congressman Bacon from the great state of Nebraska, thanks for joining us.
REP. DON BACON (R-NE): Thanks, Jake.
TAPPER: You supported Kevin McCarthy for the speaker. Not once, not twice, but on all nine ballots.
BACON: Nine times.
TAPPER: Nine times, that's great. That's three hat tricks.
We were told progress was being made in negotiations with some of the Republican hard-liners. And we were told that today was going to be pivotal. We were going to see some changes, some momentum towards McCarthy.
Yet we're not really seeing any of that, the vote totals are the same as yesterday three times in a row. So, what's next? I mean, how long can McCarthy continue to be the candidate?
BACON: Well, first of all, it's great to be on the show. Mr. Riggleman, a good old buddy, we enjoy listening to him, the last 15 minutes.
If I could just back up -- these folks do not know how to get to yes. They have been offered every concession or met every concession, they just don't know how to get to yes. It is an embarrassment to them, our party, the House and our country.
I think there's totalitarian states out there, look at those 20 and say, this is why we don't want democracy. That's an embarrassment it's drawn.
Here's why I think it's going to happen. We're going to be doing this for a long time. I just came out of a meeting with approximately 80 to 90 people I call mainstream Republicans, we said if you're not committed to do this at the very end, go ahead and just leave. We're not going to hold it against you. But every single one says, we're here until the very end.
We cannot allow 20 people to hold us hostage, act as political terrorists, who can actually (INAUDIBLE).
So, there is a group of us, a large group that are in this to the end. And I believe Kevin McCarthy is not going to back down.
So we are going to work this for a while. I believe that is going to be some of these folks who cut back to us. So, there are some good negotiations going on right now. This group is going to get smaller at some point.
And then we need to put a spotlight on what is not happening because of this small group. This small group has shut down the House. We can't do constituent services. We can't do committees. We can't do our -- the work that we've been sent to do. They derailed the conservative agenda.
But I also think simultaneously, we need to consider at some point how we're going to work across the aisle if this small group will not cooperate.
There is some concession that the other side will want and maybe some grounds where we can provide a more bipartisan structure to this House and eventually get to 218.
TAPPER: Well, that's an interesting question because I wanted to ask you, you have said that preliminary talks were underway with Democrats on a potential consensus candidate for speaker. Now, that consensus candidate would be among what you're calling the main street Republicans, but also some of the main street Democrats.
I don't know if there are 218 in total, but walking down that path, because the path we're currently is on a loop, what is the status of those talks? And do you actually think that that could happen? And who would be that consensus candidate? Would it be you?
BACON: First, you don't negotiate in public on these things because anything you do will fall apart. And we've had some preliminary contacts. The hope is to get Kevin McCarthy the speakership. He's earned it, and I can go through a lot of reasons why.
But at some point, five or six individuals, whatever this number ends up being refuses to cooperate, and they do have a burn down the House mentality, they only know how to be on the losing side. That's all they know, they don't know how to govern. So, at some point, do we know that these folks will not budge? Then we
need to look across the aisle and figure out how we can work on committee ratios, how we can work on rules, and figure out how we can get to yes to 218, but it may involve some support on the other side. Hopefully with Kevin, so we're going to do everything we can to get him across the finish line. At some point, if these five or six don't cooperate, it's going to involve some Democrat cooperation.
TAPPER: So, one of the things about anchoring for hours and hours, and listening to congressional speeches, is it gives me opportunity to surf the web, and I have found that in the two speaker races that went to the highest number of votes, the 1856 speaker's race, which went to 133 ballots over two months, the 1849 one that went to 63 ballots, the way that they broke the deadlock was that they changed from majority vote to plurality vote, whoever gets the most votes, whether or not it's a majority.
I know that from Congressman Michael McCaul, who is on the show yesterday, that is being discussed.
Is that a possibility?
BACON: I've heard that it's being discussed. I have not been in that room. I've been read about it. I think I've been reading some good CNN reporting on it.
But it's also fraught with risk. You could have five or six individuals, and we've had one already who says he doesn't mind having Hakeem Jeffries as the speaker. One of these five or six key individuals said that on Monday night.
And so, these folks are not -- they're not honest negotiators, their burn down the House mindset, and one of them said that he's all right with Jeffries as a speaker. So, this is fraught with risk, but I haven't been in this room with these discussions. I've heard about them.
TAPPER: So, you said on Sirius XM this morning I believe that you had talked to Democratic leadership about some path forward. I know you said you don't want to negotiate in public, because that's a good way to sabotage any negotiations.
But is this something serious? Is this something for your viewers to take seriously, this idea that there might be a different speaker whose name is not even being -- not even been mentioned. Someone for whom Democrats -- some Democrats might be willing to vote if there were more of a -- maybe not exactly equal, but more of power-sharing situation instead of the traditional House situation where the majority just runs roughshod over the minority?
BACON: There's a lot of runway for Kevin McCarthy, and we've put a spotlight on the smaller number. We're going to -- at some point, it's going to be a smaller number. And we want people like Mark Levin, all of these conservative talk show hosts, because they're pounding on them right now. And I think their constituency to be focused on them. We're going to let this go for a while. But right now, we've also laid the foundation that if these five or six say, hey, we don't care about the Republican Party, we don't care about the conservative agenda, we're not going to cooperate, then we have a foundation that we can start building from if we have to.
But we just don't -- that's as far as we want to go right now. If we go any further, we derail our primary objectives, which is to get Kevin McCarthy done. But you've got to have a foundation, a fallback, I call it a plan B, and that plan B is in the closet. If we need it, we can pull it out if we have to.
TAPPER: So, last question for you, sir, and that is, I've heard the criticism made that Kevin McCarthy in some ways is sowing what he reaped by tolerating this kind of nihilistic, destructive, burn down the House, you know, ultra, mega MAGA viewpoint, even proceeding Donald Trump throughout the years.
I asked this of Congressman Dave Joyce, who said that, yeah, two years ago, that insurrection, which was violent, but also supported by many members of the House who voted to overturn the votes of voters in Arizona in Pennsylvania based on lies. And they did this even after blood had been shed in the attack on the capital, but that in some ways paved the way for this crisis.
Do you agree with that analysis?
BACON: I understand that analysis, I don't fully agree with it. But let me first say, I criticized what happened on January 6th.
TAPPER: Oh, no, no. I know. Yeah, of course.
BACON: I was critical of -- at some points with Kevin on this. So I don't agree with Kevin on everything. I've been critical at times.
But when you vote and you get 85 percent support Kevin, now it's 90 percent, or was 91 percent, you're supposed to coalesce and be part of a team. But we have -- but these few people have not.
You know, I've led people in combat. I've commanded five times. I've gone -- I've deployed four times, you got to know how to work as a team even if it's an imperfect team. And they refused to do it.
But I -- I -- it's a defense to Kevin on this, he's been trying to represent the whole caucus, the whole conference, excuse me. He has to represent the folks from the R 30 districts, to my district that went by -- for Joe Biden by 7 percent.
So, he tries to be inclusive, and I know it's a challenge. There are some things that I would've said differently, but I get it, he's trying to include everybody in that kitchen cabinet, around this table. And some of the folks that I disagree with, but that's the nature of our Republican Party, that we got folks from different parts of the country, with different constituents and different needs. And that's just a fact of life. TAPPER: So, I salute your service, and I also salute your military
metaphor. But let me follow that one up before you go, with one from your fellow former Republican colleague, and fellow veteran, Denver Riggleman, who said --
BACON: I'm a fan of Denver.
TAPPER: Yeah. I know, we all are. That's why he's here.
But the idea that he said, that he worked in counterterrorism, and you can't negotiate with terrorists. So, what do you say to that that military metaphor?
BACON: You know, I feel that way. We were talking about today, hostage-takers at least they have a goal, and they have demands. We've met those demands, and they still -- they can't get to yes. They refuse to get to yes. They've been offered everything but one demand we've not gone to.
So, this is more like terrorism, and you're absolutely -- I think Denver is right with that. I believe that their constituents are going to be able to -- at some point say, this is baloney, we've had enough, you're derailing the conservative agenda, and I think that's going to have, hopefully, some impact overtime.
We're already seeing the outcry of people saying, hey, this is wrong what they're doing, and even I hear it -- I heard it in our district, I heard it in talk show, I hear it from the conservative commentators.
So, I think, overtime, we can have some success here by just putting the spotlight on them.
TAPPER: All right. Republican Congressman Don Bacon of the great state of Nebraska, thanks so much. Good to see you.
Eight failed votes, a ninth is underway. Kevin McCarthy appears to have failed again in his quest to become how speaker in ninth time.
What needs to give to move the needle here? Let's pick it up after this quick break.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: You're hearing the votes continue, Kevin McCarthy appearing to suffer the ninth defeat of the week, as a band of rebel Republicans as they like to call themselves deny him their votes for House speaker.
And a reminder that with no speaker elected, there's nothing else the House can do, right? So, if they are in session, they're voting on this. There's nothing else they can do because they don't have a speaker, they can't swear in members. You can't have committee chairs, you cannot have committees working. And some are now warning that this impasse could have national security implications. So, let's go to our Jessica Dean which is on Capitol Hill.
So, Jessica, there is, of course, the -- what is going to happen here? Everybody is involved in that, and everybody cares about that. but then there's this issue of what is not getting done, and what really matters to the country.
So, let's start with something incredibly technical. These new members, are they even getting paid if they are not sworn in yet? Is there anything happening?
JESSICA DEAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. There's so many questions around the practicality of what is going on, in this kind of historic moment right now, Erin. But we do know is that they can't do anything else between besides what they are doing. They haven't been sworn in yet, they haven't had committees going.
In fact, Don Bacon, who, of course, Jake was just talking to moments ago, tweeted earlier. I want to read you this. It really kind of gets at what they're dealing with here. He said, my office was informed by an agency today that they cannot communicate with my staff regarding active casework, because we're not yet sworn in.
But a handful holding up the speaker's election is not helping Americans, but directly hurting them. And to that end, we are also hearing from members of the armed services committee, or the House Intelligence Committee that they can't give clearance, they can't go to meetings that they need to be going to, to be updated, to be given information on the committees that they serve on. Of course, those are critical national security committees, that they cannot get in and get information from various people that they need to be getting to to do their jobs.
And in a broader sense as well, one congressman saying that this is an entire arm is just offline. You know, the Republicans, of course, were elected to come here. They ran on an agenda, Erin, and for a lot of these Republicans, a lot of these moderate Republicans, especially, they're quite frustrated that this is their first display of power, but also that they can't do anything, they can start the investigations that they want to start -- the oversight investigations. They can't get to the committee work right now.
And one more thing to keep in mind that we found out is that if they don't have a rules package in place by January 13th, so just a few days, the committee staffers won't be paid. So, this is going to start really affecting people that also work up here on the Hill.
BURNETT: All right. Jessica, thank you very much.
So, David, amidst this, and everybody to this point is watching this incredible train wreck in front of us, right, and there is something compelling in watching that. People can't turn away.
DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Right.
BURNETT: And yet, there is behind it, the reason it matters so much, right? The reason that Congress actually matters.
AXELROD: Yes. I mean -- well, there are a lot of different functions. Like, I think probably the thing that will least disturb people is that members of Congress wouldn't get paid.
AXELROD: They probably approve of that.
BURNETT: They'll celebrate. Yeah.
AXELROD: But there are functions. Not just the functions of committee and oversight and so on, but just people calling their congressional officers who need help with a path forward that will certainly passport or their Social Security or some other problem dealing with the federal government.
So, you know, everything is sort of grinding to a halt is disturbing. And certainly for Republicans who are eager to get on with oversight this is going to be an issue. But, Erin, I just want to say this is a -- this really is a microcosm of the problem that has been bedeviling the Republican Party for some time. They never really confronted it.
They've had, you know, it cost them, frankly, the margin that they needed to avoid this mess in November because people said we don't want election deniers. Most of whom are in that, you know, 20 -- caucus of 20. There are others as well.
But we don't want chaos. We want people to work constructively and so on. So this is precisely what people did not want. This was the worst case scenario for Republicans and it is amplifying a sense of party that is more about making noise than making progress. That would concern me a lot if I were among those members sitting there who are not part of this drama and who just want to get on with things. And you wonder how much that pressure builds and --
BURNETT: To make sort of a move. Then you get into reading the tea leaves. As we're seeing this ninth vote appear to fail, Scott, you're going through the different votes and what happened. You saw Matt Gaetz switch his vote from Trump to Byron Donalds. No, to Hern.
DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: He was Byron then he voted for Hern.
BURNETT: Right, Trump to Byron, to -- OK. But you're watching this. We can't fully read into it. But to the extent it could mean something, what do you see?
SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, Boebert nominated Hern, he got three. So, Donalds got 17. I wonder if the Hern votes would following -- if Boebert would drag more people into Hern as a signal that, look, this is the true never Kevin. So, three is a low number so, I don't know why those three voted that way, but that's where that broke out.
Number two, nobody's moved all day, 20 has been 20, 200 has been 200 and one has been present. There are McCarthy allies who think a deal is close at hand with some of the holdouts. But I've been wondering, well, if you think you mute have a deal, why keep going through this exercise? And I'm only left with the answer, s they probably don't have the votes to adjourn.
AXELROD: No doubt.
BURNETT: That's interesting.
JENNINGS: So we're stuck with these same --
BURNETT: That is the one thing they could agree on.
JENNINGS: Yeah. I don't think --
AXELROD: They barely agreed on it yesterday.
BURNETT: They got there.
JENNINGS: So, basically, you have to keep going through this ballot exercise which produces the same result. You can't get out of this mirror.
BURNETT: Do they have the votes to adjourn because they think they're close to a deal? You hear Perry say there is no talk of a deal. Chip Roy says they're still talking.
URBAN: There is no votes to adjourn. The never Kevins don't want to adjourn. They want to make him suffer this defeat after defeat after defeat. Democrats aren't incentivized.
BURNETT: Why help?
URBAN: They don't want to help. To David's point, I touch on David's point. One thing that Congress does, I was a chief of staff for a senator for a long time, five years. And one of the biggest things do you is constituents services.
Most people don't interact with their congressmen or senator on a legislative front. They go there because they have some issues. They're petitioning the government for regress grievances. They're going because Social Security check is screwed out of play or the military is erroneous and they want to get it fixed.
And the House, its House members, they don't have e-mails. They don't have e-mail addresses. They don't have phone numbers. They can't hire staff. Let alone the people who are there and communicating back and forth to the Social Security Administration and trying to get somebody a passport. At some point, that really matters to people. That's going to matter more than the legislative front.
When people are not getting checks or having problems. Those things are going to really matter. That impacts Americans' lives more so than the debates about the debt ceiling that most people in America doesn't touch. KAREN FINNEY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That is actually the point
for those who are at home much watching this, that is your power, is to make the members of Congress hear from you. How do you feel about the fact that we're at the same point now as when we started to day as where we left off last night?
Great news for Hakeem Jeffries, obviously, because he continues to get 212. Great way for him to start his tenure as the Democratic leader.
You want to pick up on what David said, and I mentioned this with Scott earlier. At some point, if you're an institutionalist in the Republican Party, you have to be concerned about the brand of the Republican Party. We're starting to hear that from some of these members in terms of you have to be able to say you can govern.
The message is okay. They keep talking about we have this majority. But the answer is and you can't govern. You can't leave. You can't govern. You can't even, you know, answer constituent services.
Why should we ever if you think down the road to 2024, why am I going to return to you Congress? Why am I going to return to the Senate?
JENNINGS: This totally legitimate point. Right now we look like, you know, monkeys throwing footballs. It's ridiculous. We don't -- we look like --
FINNEY: Crabs, monkeys.
JENNINGS: But it's a totally legitimate point. And so, when all this is over with, how this House operates on that front will matter because we did just win a lesson this midterm. The independent voters of this country say we don't love Biden. But we're not ready to trust you yet with governing responsibility.
Now, the House Republicans did win the national popular vote barely. But what do we do with it here? One other logistical issue by the way --
JENNINGS: Nobody necessarily planned for this. My guess is both parties are probably starting to hear from some members, that this is going to -- if what Don Bacon says is true, it's going to go on for days and days and days, something is going to leave, or have to leave, or have other commitments --
BURNETT: OK. All right. Let's talk about -- can we talk about -- because I know we've been sort of in jest saying, well, what happens if you mess up the math and Hakeem Jeffries become speaker and it's been sort of said in jest.
But what happens if people do start leaving instead? (CROSSTALK)
JENNINGS: The majority voting, they're not present. I'm not saying tonight I know anything. But over the course of several days, you have 434 people. Somebody has to go somewhere. And who it is and how long they're gone could make a difference.
AXELROD: I just would say, and you guys know this, you're all practicing politicians. You've been involved in campaigns and you understand. If this were the end of it, if this ugly thing which by the way comes on the eve of the January 6 insurrection with, you know, so these are reverberations that we're still feeling from that.
But if this thing were just to end here, perhaps Republicans could recover from this. But if the deal that they have to make in order to end it is to basically empower the same group that is holding out now, this is going to have real ramifications for Republicans in 2024. I think makes it highly likely that Democrats win the election.
BURNETT: Some Republicans are saying time is running out for Kevin McCarthy. Some of them said, look, he gives away anymore, they start to waiver.
This is the ninth defeat that we're watching right now. Next, a member of the House Republican conference is going to join us as the drama here continues.
TAPPER: Welcome back. Kevin McCarthy for the ninth time overall this week, breaking a record for the last century in terms of running for the House and failing. We're standing by to see if the house will hold a tenth vote this evening.
Let's bring in Republican Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, from the suburbs of Philly. He is supporting Kevin McCarthy for speaker.
Congressman, you're one of the adversaries for Kevin McCarthy to try to find a deal, try to find a way forward. We had heard that there had been progress made with some of the rebels. And yet, Kevin McCarthy hasn't picked up any of their votes.
REP. BRIAN FITZPATRICK (R-PA): Yeah. Hey, Jake, thanks for having me.
Yeah, because the new rules package has not been finalized and released. That is being complicated now. There are several members for both parties that will not be in attendance in the floor tomorrow for various reasons.
So it's uncertain. You're going to see the fever break a little bit in the next 24 hours. TAPPER: Tonight or tomorrow do you think?
FITZPATRICK: I think certainly by tomorrow. I think its' going to depend on when these ideas, this verbal ideas can be put in writing and circulated for everyone to take a look at. Obviously, we need to sell the rest of the conference on it.
And as you know, we have a very, very broad array of views and opinions in our conference. I certainly need to run it by the group that I represent and the bipartisan and the Republican side anyway, to make sure that they're okay with these rules.
TAPPER: Right. There is big fear among people in the problem solvers caucus such as yourself that rules changes being sought will set a stage for incredible difficulty if not impossibility to legislate by weakening the speakership, right?
FITZPATRICK: Yes, because of mechanisms around that. For example, the discharge petition will only take myself and four of my colleagues on the GOP side to side with Democrats if that is necessary to circumvent that. So, there is a lot of procedural options at our disposal.
The reality is, it's a tight margin. It's a four-vote margin in the house. In many ways, that is good thing, that's an opportunity for a lot of cross aisle collaboration. We have to get through the procedural hurdle and parliament airy hurdle right now.
TAPPER: So, this is the second time we heard about this today from a Kevin McCarthy ally. If I understand it correctly, I just want to make sure I do, the idea is that, for instance, a lot of Republicans don't come up for the dote and they're empowered to block because of the concession that's Kevin McCarthy might make to get their votes. Still would be introduced because of a discharged petition f 218 members of Congress sign that, then there is automatically a vote.
So for must pass legislation such as paying for government, paying for the military, raising the debt ceiling, et cetera, et cetera, it would be -- the Congress would be forced into a situation where Democrats, 212 of them, would go to sign this discharge petition. Six responsible Republicans presumably, including yourself would join them, and then there would be a vote on this must pass legislation. Am I getting that right?
FITZPATRICK: Yes. That's one of many options. There's the 290-rule, the consensus calendar. There is a number of options to circumvent leadership. There is not a ton. But there are options at our disposal.
So the tight margins require bipartisan support for a lot of these bills. If these are single party solutions, they're just not going to get floor time because we're going to whip against it. We're going to get our colleagues to whip against it as well.
TAPPER: So right now the clerk, I won't interrupt our interview. But just so people know what is going on. The clerk on the House on the left side of the screen is announcing the final vote tally on the ninth ballot which we expect will be 212 votes for Hakeem Jeffries, 201 votes for Kevin McCarthy, and 20 votes for somebody who is a Republican who is not Kevin McCarthy and Congresswoman Victoria Spartz voting present.
What's going to happen next? Is there going to be a vote tonight or is there going to be a motion to adjourn?
FITZPATRICK: Yeah. That's the question none of us know the answer to, Jake. Unfortunately, we don't know how many rounds we're going to go here. It's really up to our Democratic colleagues it's too when they're willing to join us at a motion to adjourn because the Freedom Caucus doesn't want to adjourn. I think they want to see this go on.
TAPPER: So there may be a 10th, 11th, 12th, on and on, maybe through the night?
FITZPATRICK: That's possible. I hope people come their senses long before that.
TAPPER: Well, if they come to their senses, I don't know that we would even be having this conversation.
FITZPATRICK: That's true. That's true. That is true.
TAPPER: So, look, how many of the individuals with whom you're negotiating, because I want to -- there say concept of, you know, giving people the benefit of the doubt. Let's assume that a number of them and let me pull out Chip Roy as an example of it, are really actually trying to change the rules and make so it it's a more democratized liberal process as happened 100 years ago the last time there was a conflict like this.
How many are left after that? There have been word that Chip Roy may bring with him ten of the holdouts. They're going to -- we just heard they're going to a tenth ballot. And we're going to hear from that in a second.
But guess my question is, how many absolutely hell no, never Kevin McCarthy votes are there?
FITZPATRICK: They're not a monolithic group, as you know, Jake. I mean, each one of them have different issues. The ones that are most concerned are those that are personal. It's not policy related.
But most of them, majority of them are policy-related. So the hard core knows, the question is how many of them can be flipped? How many of them would be willing to vote present rather than utter a name other than Kevin? Because present vote is the same thing as a no vote. It drops the denominator and therefore the numerator down from 2018.
TAPPER: All right. As I know you and I will be rooting for the Eagles this weekend, I will let you go and get back to your job. Thank you so much, Congressman. I appreciate it. Brian Fitzpatrick, Republican from the great commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Let's listen in. REP. JUAN CISCOMANI (R-AZ): It's our responsibility. Kevin
understands this as well as anyone. He has dedicated his life to spreading opportunity for all through the private sector and the public sector.
You know this place is a special place for me. My first time on the Hill was back when I was an intern in 2003.
My mom visited and I remember walking her around the halls of Congress as if I own the place. Well, just a few days ago, I got to walk my mom around one more time this special place, but now as a member-elect of the United States House of Representatives.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
The American dream is alive. I believe it. I've gotten to know Kevin McCarthy well. He secured a Republican majority in the United States house and laid out a plan to deliver for the American people.
There's one thing I know about Kevin McCarthy. He cares about the American people. He cares about our country and is here not to be somebody but to do something. And that has been laid out in his Commitment to America, to fight for an economy that is strong, a nation that is safe, a future that is built on freedom, and a government that is accountable. This I can strongly get behind.
This country gave me and my family an opportunity -- an opportunity to achieve the American dream. Friends, I was born in Mexico. The best way that I can tell you who I am is through a short conversation I had with my dad when I told him I was going to run for office. This conversation, of course, in Espanol, in Spanish.
My dad asked me, Juan, where else could we have our story? We come to this country. We immerse in the culture. We learn English. We go through the long journey and become U.S. citizens.
He said, I drive a bus my whole life. And now my son has a shot at becoming a member of the United States Congress? Where else in the world could we have our story?
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
But where else in the world could any of us have our story? Regardless of our background, regardless of where we come from, what side of the aisle we sit on, we have the privilege and opportunity to sit here today as part of a historic moment, fighting for what we believe.
The answer of where else is nowhere else. Only here. I trust Kevin to fight for that American dream because he's a product of it. We're all a product of it. He gets it and understands that a government accountable to the people is the best tool to ensure that our future generations continue to have a real shot at the American dream. So let's be proud of our stories. Let's be grateful to God for it all.
And let's get to work to ensure that everyone has the same opportunity to write their own story.
Being a representative isn't a job title. It's a job description. The eyes of the world are on us as we are airing our grievances.
That's the cost of leadership, the leadership that comes from this body. So let's act like it. Let's step up to that calling that our country needs and our districts expect from us.
I am confident we will resolve this issue and will stand united to fight for the values that matter to the American people.
The American people who sent us here to tackle inflation, to protect our border, to hold the executive branch accountable. It's time to do the job we were entrusted to do, to get results for the American people that sent us here.
And the best person to lead us in this journey and in this fight to defend the American dream for all is Kevin McCarthy.
And I am proud to stand here before you today as the first naturalized citizen in the history of Arizona to win a congressional seat.
Proud of the work of my parents. My dad, who drove a bus for most of his life. My mom, a homemaker. We grew up in a two-bedroom apartment. Didn't own a home until I was in college.
But my story is not unique. I washed cars with my dad in the same neighborhood that our office sits today.
We're not here celebrating one particular story. We're here celebrating the American opportunity only found here, being born from this body as well, as the opportunities of our country have gone. And all of you in this room have that story.
I strongly believe that we all have a car wash story. A story where we began. And in spite of all the challenges and in spite of all obstacles, we are here and each one of us are a testament to the opportunity and the greatness of this country. And that is why we are here.
And I strongly believe that Kevin McCarthy is the person to lead this body in this new fight this next 118th congress. So at the direction of the Republican conference I advance the name of Kevin McCarthy as the next speaker of the House of the 118th Congress.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
CHERYL JOHNSON, HOUSE CLERK: For what purpose does the gentleman from California rise?
REP. PETE AGUILAR (D-CA): Madam Clerk, I rise again to nominate Hakeem Jeffries for speaker of the House.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
JOHNSON: The gentleman is recognized.
AGUILAR: Madam clerk, I want to thank my colleague on the other side of the aisle for sharing his American dream story and for his family for being here with him at his side. It is our hope that this chamber gets down to the business so he and all the new members in this chamber can be sworn in to do the work of the people.
That's why House Democrats stand united again on this ballot to make sure that Hakeem Jeffries is the lead vote getter in this chamber. And it's also why it's important just like I relayed a few days ago, Madam Clerk, the importance of the character of Hakeem Jeffries. Who he is, his story, and why he should be given an opportunity to lead this chamber.
In New York, after the fifth grade you can't get on a bus to go to school anymore. You have to take alternate means. You can walk or you can take a train.
In sixth grade, he and his brother would walk to the train station, take the train, get off the train, and walk to school. Now, there's a little disagreement in the Jeffries household as to how many days his father took him on that route before he let him navigate that route with his younger brother.
The character it takes for an older brother in sixth grade and his fourth grade little brother to go to school each and every day in New York, to be on their own, to handle themselves and to handle each other, that's the character of this man. That's the character of a leader you want in this chamber.
He's going to be the one who walks with you, who sees you through the day, who makes sure your priorities are his priorities.