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CNN Live Event/Special
Now: Speaker Vote Underway, 218 Votes Needed To Win. Aired 12:30-1p ET
Aired January 03, 2023 - 12:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Let's go back to our chief congressional correspondent, Manu Raju. And Manu, you just saw Leader McCarthy and you spoke with him. What happened?
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, he's making very clear he is not going anywhere. I asked him, is there any scenario in which you would drop out of this race? He said, quote, no. He said that they -- he plans to push forward even if this goes to multiple ballots, which is expected to do something we have not seen in 100 years. Ultimately they will keep voting until someone gets 218 votes. And he says he is going to stay in this race until someone gets the 218 votes, betting that it ultimately will be him.
He said we cannot, quote, give in to a few members of his Republican conference who simply want what they will not get. He said that is not the way this process should work. He indicated some of the demands they have made, such as getting more power, essentially on key committees, other measures as well, to empower them over the speakership.
He said he has given a lot of issues, but the things that they're asking for simply will not fly. And he says he is ready to dig in. Now, Jake, I am also told from sources close to McCarthy that he remembers 2015 very well, that at that time, when he did not have the votes to become speaker, he bowed out before this all ultimately went to the floor.
He does not believe that was the right move course of action, and he has been informed by that decision going forward and plans to grind this out and into his benefit. His allies believe that they have so many supporters who are willing to stand with him that they're willing to battle this out for as long as it takes. And McCarthy indicating to me just now that's what he's planning to do as well.
TAPPER: Yes. And on your screen, you're seeing right now people at home, individual members of Congress apparently posing for photographs with Leader McCarthy. We just saw the delegation, the Republican delegation from New Jersey earlier. Let's bring back our congressional friend Rodney Davis. What are you hearing from people, your colleagues on the Hill right now? What's the sense? What's the mood?
RODNEY DAVIS (R-IL), FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: You Jake, I'm hearing that Kevin McCarthy is digging in for the long haul. And the 85 percent of the Republicans in our conference that voted for him to be the speaker, they're excited about that. They want to see him fight, and they want to see him stand up to these five members and a few others that seem to be moving the other way.
TAPPER: Why are they excited about it? I mean I've never really seen a race like this before where a speakership remains in such doubts. They're just mad at Boebert and Gaetz and the holdouts.
DAVIS: Well, it's a long time coming, as some of the discussion has been already today. You know, this happened to John Boehner. Similar things happened to Paul Ryan. It seems that Republicans, when given the chance by the American people to take over the House, want to fight with each other before they get down to the business of holding Democrats accountable.
But the pressure is going to kit -- the pressure is going to continue to grow against those who are holding out. Why? Because there's no alternative. Matt Gaetz, Bob Good, Andy Biggs, they don't have an alternative. They all know Andy Biggs is not an alternative. He will never be speaker of the House. But there's no one that they're supporting that will, which is why I think Kevin's in for the long haul and why I think he'll win eventually.
TAPPER: All right, I do have to ask you, Congressman Davis, as you know, you don't actually have to be a member of the House of Representatives to be speaker of the House. And there has been a lot of discussion because the speakership is in such doubt. There's been a lot of discussion about maybe there's a consensus candidate, maybe somebody who used to be a member of the House.
We've heard names like Fred Upton, the congressman from Michigan. We've heard your name. This is not the first time you've heard that. What's your response to that? ` DAVIS: It hasn't happened in our nation's history. It's not going to happen this time. We're going to see these -- we're going to see the candidates nominated right now that I think will be the final candidates that will be considered for speaker of the House. I think Kevin McCarthy, if he's willing to stand in for the fight, I think that's going to energize a lot of governing Republicans, because, remember, a lot of the new freshmen --
TAPPER: Yes, let's listen in right now. We're going to listen to Congresswoman Elise Stefanik. Listen to the nomination of Kevin McCarthy.
REP. ELISE STEFANIK (R-NY), REPUBLICAN CONFERENCE CHAIR: -- to nominate the gentleman from California, Kevin McCarthy, as speaker of the House to lead America's new Republican majority.
In just two years of failed one party Democrat rule, the American people have suffered from a historic border crisis, rampant crime, crippling inflation, rising energy cost, runaway debt, unconstitutional attacks on our fundamental freedoms, and weakness at home and abroad. The people across this great nation spoke loudly and clearly that they wanted a new direction. [12:35:13]
They wanted a new direction to stop this radical far left agenda to hold Joe Biden accountable, and to save the United States of America. Under Kevin McCarthy's leadership, House Republicans drafted a bold vision to put our nation back on track. Our commitment to America is a promise to the American people that this new Republican majority will stand up for an economy that's strong, a nation that's safe, a future that's built upon freedom, and a government that's accountable to the people.
Kevin McCarthy is the proud son of a firefighter and a fourth generation Californian from Kern County, home to wildcatters, frontiersman and the right stuff, Bakersfield embodies the American spirit to work hard and dream big. This spirit that built our great nation is what we need in our next speaker.
Kevin McCarthy is a strong conservative. He is proudly pro-life, a supporter of our Second Amendment Rights, and he is committed to stopping wasteful government spending and shrinking the size of government. When Republicans last held the majority, Kevin, helped to reduce domestic spending and lower the tax burden on hardworking American families.
And as a Republican leader over the past several years, Kevin has taken the fight to one party Democrat rule on behalf of the American people. He helped bring this historic border crisis to the national consciousness, a crisis Kevin made sure Democrats could no longer ignore. He fought for and succeeded in repealing the ill-advised military COVID vaccine mandate.
And he stood on this very floor and spoke for a record 8 hours and 35 minutes to not only delay the vote in the House, but to make the case that ultimately defeated Joe Biden and House Democrats dangerous build back broke legislation. No one, no one in this body has worked harder for this Republican majority than Kevin McCarthy.
Since the day Kevin was elected as our leader, House Republicans have only gained seats and won. While Republicans in the Senate and state legislatures lost seats, House Republicans are the only ones who have consistently won, because Kevin knows what we stand for, he knows when we should engage in the fight, and he knows how to build consensus.
Importantly, Kevin has done the work of listening to all Americans, traveling to nearly every district in this country, fighting for conservative values and fighting for the people that are committed to upholding them. Kevin has shown up in these communities of every member in our conference, and I can guarantee he has shown up in the districts of our many of our colleagues across the aisle as well. His relentless effort has yielded an extraordinary new House Republican majority that represents our country's greatness from all walks of life.
When the last Congress gaveled in two years ago, every new Republican welcomed to our conference was a woman, veteran or minority. Today's House Republican Conference is the most diverse Republican Conference in our nation's history. A seasoned legislator, an experienced leader, a friend to so many of us, a proud conservative with a tireless work ethic, Kevin McCarthy has earned the speakership of the People's House.
Madam Clerk, as the chair of the Republican Conference, it is my high honor to present our conference's nominee for election to the Office of Speaker of the People's House, the Honorable Kevin McCarthy from the State of California. And I yield back.
CHERYL JOHNSON, HOUSE CLERK: The clerk now recognizes the gentleman from California, Mr. Aguilar.
REP. PETE AGUILAR (D-CA): Madam Clerk, I rise today at the direction of the House Democratic Caucus to place into nomination for election to the position of speaker of the House of Representatives, the pride of Brooklyn, Hakeem Jeffries of New York.
Today, Madam Clerk, House Democrats are united. United by a speaker who will put people over politics, Hakeem Jeffries has worked his entire life to improve economic opportunity for all people. He is committed to strengthening the American dream by lowering costs for working families, building safer communities, by taking weapons of war off streets, and by creating good paying jobs industries of the future.
As we work to implement our historic legislative accomplishments of the last two years, House Democrats are united behind a speaker who wants to make things in America and bring home jobs that have been shipped overseas to write a tax code -- to write a tax code that rewards hard work, not wealth, to invest in clean energy that reduces our country's dependence on fossil fuels from voting rights to reproductive rights, we are united, Madam Clerk.
We are unified behind a speaker who is an unapologetic advocate for protecting and expanding our freedom. He does not traffic in extremism. He does not grovel to or make excuses for a twice impeached, so called former president. Madam Clerk, he does not bend a knee to anyone who would seek to undermine our democracy. Because, Madam Clerk, that's not what leaders do. Because he understands what great leaders of this House understand that this body and this institution are best equipped to serve the needs of this democracy in the beautiful mosaic of the members it sends, that our responsibility as members of this body is to protect the American dream and honor the sacrifice of the generations before us.
Like the sacrifice of a mother and a social worker who borrowed against her pension to put her children through school. Mom and dad were determined that their children would graduate without any debt so that they could pursue their dreams to the best of their ability, no matter the hardship or the sacrifice.
Today, Hakeem's leadership style is quite simple. Spread love. It's the Brooklyn way. And it's born of this working class upbringing in that same borough, Hakeem and his brother were raised in the first home that their parents ever bought, thanks to their collectively bargained salary. And it's where they live today. It was in this House where his younger brother saw a future leader, where his mother saw a thoughtful, passionate young man, and where his father saw a competitor whose GPA went up when his younger brother started high school.
His family always at his side, some here with us today and some watching from home, his mom and dad, Kenny, JJ, Joshua, and his younger brother, Dr. Hassan Jeffries. Mrs. Jeffries and her husband told their sons, it doesn't matter what you do, but it has to be done in the service of people. And that's how Hakeem will lead.
He's going to serve all of us so that we can best serve the American public. That selflessness, that commitment to success of those around you is what shaped his career and what will shape our joint future together. He knows success isn't about personal achievement. He's a leader who will be with you in the beginning, whether it's your bill and an important priority in your district. He'll ride alongside you as you do the work and he'll be there at the end to see you through because he knows that our success means that we can raise the quality of life for our constituents, creating better jobs and building safer communities.
He is guided every step of the way by his faith and his mom instilled in him. Sunday mornings weren't always easy in the Jeffries house. The young man who knew he wanted to be a lawyer would argue with his mom about going to church that day. But failure is a good teacher. He lost those arguments. And now Hakeem goes to church every weekend, sometimes that one where his church family is at Cornerstone Baptist or somewhere else in the district where he can meet his constituents where they are.
He remembers that after church on Sundays, he'd go to Nano's house where there was an open door at his grandmother's house for the entire neighborhood and their elders to come through with food and conversation, a young Hakeem listening to everything, but usually just trying to catch the score of the jets game. This is where wisdom gets passed down.
And now, guided by the faith and wisdom of leaders like Jim Clyburn, Greg Meeks, John Lewis, Steny Hoyer, Nancy D'Alesandro Pelosi. It is shaped by that guidance that we are prepared to nominate a leader who will open the door to the new generation of leadership. Madam Clerk, a Latino is nominating for leader of this chamber, a black man for the first time in our history.
Madam Clerk, that's progress. And it's progress that the country wants to continue for this Congress and for our country. Therefore, as chair of the Democratic Caucus, I am directed by the vote of that caucus to present for election to the office of speaker of the House of Representatives for the 118th Congress the name of the Honorable Hakeem Jeffries, Representative-elect from the State of New York.
JOHNSON: The names of the Honorable Kevin McCarthy, a representative- elect from the State of California, and the Honorable Hakeem Jeffries, a representative-elect from the State of New York, have been placed in nomination. Are there further nominations?
REP. PAUL GOSAR (R-AZ): Madam Clerk, there is.
JOHNSON: The gentleman from Arizona is recognized.
GOSAR: America knows that Washington is broken. The power doesn't reside in the speaker. It doesn't in the majority leader nor the minority leader nor the whips. The power resides in, we, the people, the people who entrusted us here, each individual member to represent their district, their state, and the federal government. Washington is broken. We're the last ones to know.
Wise person once told me, good process builds good policy, builds good politics. We got to return to that. It is with that I placed the name of my friend and colleague from Arizona, Andy Biggs, for speaker of the House. Thank you.
JOHNSON: Are there further nominations? There being no further nominations, the Clerk appoints the following tellers, the gentleman from Georgia, Mr. Loudermilk, the gentlewoman from California, Ms. Lee, the gentleman from Wisconsin, Mrs. Steel, and the gentleman from New York, Mr. Morelle. The tellers will come forward and take their seats at the desk in front of the speaker's rostrum.
TAPPER: All right, we are watching history in action. Hakeem Jeffries, the House Democratic leader, we know that there are 212 votes for him. Kevin McCarthy, the House Republican leader. We have no idea how many votes there are for him. And then Congressman Andy Biggs, Arizona, we know he will not be the next House Speaker, but we don't know how many votes he's going to get either.
The drama really is about how many people are going to vote for Kevin McCarthy, vote against Kevin McCarthy, or vote present. And this is an outcome that there is no one here in this room or watching at home or in that room that knows how it's going to turn out, John King?
JOHN KING, CNN HOST: As you watch this play out, it's been said before but McCarthy has campaigned for this for a year, and he is short.
TAPPER: Let's listen in.
JOHNSON: -- representative-elect from the State of New York. And the Honorable Andy Biggs, a representative-elect from the State of Arizona, have been placed in nominations. The role now will be called, and those responding to those names will indicate by surname the nominee of their choosing. The reading clerk will now call the role.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Adams? Jeffries. Aderholt?
REP. ROBERT ADERHOLT (R-AL): I guess vote for the gentleman from California Mr. McCarthy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: McCarthy. Aguilar?
AGUILAR: Mr. Jefferies.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jefferies. Alford?
REP. MARK ALFORD (R-TX): Kevin McCarthy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: McCarthy. Allen?
REP. RICK ALLEN (R-GA): McCarthy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: McCarthy. Allred?
REP. COLIN ALLRED (D-TX): Hakeem Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries. Amodei? McCarthy. Armstrong?McCarthy. Arrington? McCarthy. Auchincloss? Jeffries. Babin? McCarthy. Bacon? McCarthy. Baird? McCarthy. Balderson? McCarthy. Balint? Jeffries. Banks? McCarthy. Barr? McCarthy. Barragan? Jeffries. Bean of Florida? McCarthy. Beatty?
REP. JOYCE BEATTY (D-OH): I proudly pass my historic vote for Hakeem Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries. Bentz?
REP. CLIFF BENTZ (R-OR): Kevin McCarthy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: McCarthy. Bera?
REP. AMI BERA (D-CA): Hakeem Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries.
REP. JACK BERGMAN (R-MI): McCarthy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: McCarthy. Beyer?
REP. DONALD BEYER (D-VA): Hakeem Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries. Bice?
REP. STEPHANIE BICE (R-OK): Kevin McCarthy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: McCarthy. Biggs?
REP. ANDY BIGGS (R-AZ): Biggs.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Biggs. Bilirakis?
REP. GUS BILIRAKIS (R-FL): McCarthy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: McCarthy. Bishop of Georgia?
REP. DAN BISHOP (R-NC): McCarthy.
REP. SANFORD BISHOP (R-GA): Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries. Bishop of North Carolina?
REP. DAN BISHOP (R-NC): Biggs.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Biggs. Blumenauer?
REP. EARL BLUMENAUER (D-OR): Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries. Blunt Rochester?
REP. LISA BLUNT ROCHESTER (D-DE): Hakeem Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries. Boebert?
REP. LAUREN BOEBERT (R-CO): I right to pass my vote to the Honorable Jim Jordan.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jordan. Bonamici? Jeffries. Bost?
REP. MIKE BOST (R-IL): Proudly Kevin McCarthy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: McCarthy. Bowman?
REP. JAMAAL BOWMAN (D-NY): Hakeem Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries. Boyle of Pennsylvania?
REP. BRENDAN BOYLE (D-PA): Hakeem Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries. Raskin? Banks. Brown?
REP. SHONTEL BROWN (D-OH): Hakeem Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries. Brownley?
REP. JULIA BROWNLEY (D-CA): Proudly Hakeem Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries. Buchanan?
REP. VERN BUCHANAN (R-FL): McCarthy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: McCarthy. Buck?
REP. KEN BUCK (R-CO): McCarthy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: McCarthy. Bucshon?
REP. LARRY BUCSHON (R-IN): Kevin McCarthy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: McCarthy. Bazinski (ph)? Jeffries. Burchett?
REP. TIM BURCHETT (R-TN): I would like to vote to Kevin McCarthy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: McCarthy. Burgess? McCarthy.
REP. ERIC BURLISON (R-MO): McCarthy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: McCarthy. Bush?
REP. CORI BUSH (D-MO): -- Hakeem Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries. Calvert?
REP. KEN CALVERT (R-CA): McCarthy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: McCarthy. Cammack? Cammack?
REP. KAT CAMMACK (R-FL): McCarthy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: McCarthy. Caravil (ph)?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hakeem Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries. Carbajal?
REP. SALUD CARBAJAL (D-CA): Hakeem Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries. Cardenas?
REP. TONY CARDENAS (D-CA): -- House of Representatives, Hakeem Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries. Carey?
REP. MIKE CAREY (R-OH): Proudly Kevin McCarthy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: McCarthy. Carl?
REP. JERRY CARL (R-AL): The next speaker of the House 118th Congress is Kevin McCarthy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: McCarthy. Carson?
REP. ANDRE CARSON (D-IN): Hakeem Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries. Carter of Georgia?
REP. EARL CARTER (R-GA): Kevin McCarthy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: McCarthy. Carter of Louisiana?
REP. TROY CARTER (D-LA): Hakeem Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries. Carter of Texas?
REP. JOHN CARTER (R-TX): Kevin McCarthy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: McCarthy. Cartwright?
REP. MATT CARTWRIGHT (D-PA): Jeffries. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries. Casar?
REP. GREG CASAR (D-TX): Hakeem Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries. Case?
REP. ED CASE (D): Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries. Casten?
REP. SEAN CASTEN (D-IL): Hakeem Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries. Castor of Florida?
REP. KATHY CASTOR (D-FL): Hakeem Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries. Castro of Texas? Castro of Texas? Jeffries. Chavez-DeRemer?
REP. LORI CHAVEZ-DEREMER (R-OR): Kevin McCarthy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: McCarthy. Cherfilus-McCormick?
REP. SHEILA CHERFILUS-MCCORMICK (D-FL): Hakeem Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries. Chu?
REP. JUDY CHU (D-CA): Hakeem Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries. Cicilline?