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Rep. Dave Joyce (R-OH) Is Being Interviewed About Kevin McCarthy; Now: McCarthy Appears To Suffer Defeat On 4th Speaker Ballot; House In Chaos As McConnell & Biden Tout Bipartisanship; McCarthy Appears To Suffer Defeat, 217 Votes Needed To Win; Aired 1- 1:30p ET

Aired January 04, 2023 - 13:00   ET




ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Four votes for apparent defeat for Kevin McCarthy. Today, more public embarrassment, more chaos in the United States House of Representatives. I'm Anderson Cooper in New York. You're watching CNN special live coverage.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: And I'm Jake Tapper in Washington. The United States still without a House Speaker this hour. And there is no sign that Republicans are going to be able to settle on one anytime soon.

Kevin McCarthy is going to come up short a fourth time. That's the vote we're watching right now. The hardline opposition of about 20 rebels backing Congressman Byron Donalds of Florida this go-around. This vote is playing out as we're seeing quite an interesting split screen moment.

On the left side of your screen, you see, Senator -- Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell, who is at an event in Kentucky with President Biden. They are talking about the bipartisan infrastructure bill that was only passed because of Democrats and Republicans working together.

And now you see on the screen, a place where bipartisanship is not happening, in fact, barely partisanship when it comes to Republicans.

CNN is tracking everything as it happens vote by vote. Let's start with CNN's Lauren Fox. Lauren, Kevin McCarthy's allies are frustrated. Are they suggesting that they know of any path out of this, any way to pick off 15 of these 30 -- 20 rebels?

LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's a lot of concern right now, Jake, about how they are going to get out of this box canyon right now in this speaker's race with a fear that Kevin McCarthy, even if he emerges, even if miraculously, he can get the votes at this point that he will be severely weakened.

Here's when one ally told me. He probably has another 24 hours to get an agreement. If he can't negotiate to get an agreement on speaker, it means he won't be able to negotiate and get to 218 on anything controversial. Maybe nobody else can either, but he certainly can't. This person said he hopes that McCarthy can get there.

But just to remind people back home, there is so much left to do for Republicans, if they're going to have this majority. If they're going to actually be able to govern, they're going to have to pass a debt ceiling at some point. They're going to have to pass other controversial bills. When it comes to any disaster aid, a spending bill, a farm bill, all of those issues have really bedeviled Republicans in the past, Jake. It just shows that even if McCarthy can emerge, he may not have much support left.

TAPPER: Yes. I mean, passing the Speaker of the House is not supposed to be the toughest votes. And if they do, presumably they will arrive at a speaker at some point, they've got a lot more tougher votes ahead.

Let's go to Melanie Zanona now. Melanie, there's a very real impact here to all this dysfunction besides C-Span's ratings going up. The House remains essentially frozen in time. Members of Congress elect are not members of Congress yet. There's a lot that is not going to be able to be done for the American people.

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Yes, that's exactly right, Jake. This is so much more than just a storyline about Republican infighting. The House is completely paralyzed right now because they cannot conduct any other business until they elect a speaker. So what that means is committees can't hire new staff, let alone start watching investigations or writing bills or passing bills. We don't even know who some of the chairs are going to be of these committees.

And meanwhile, I'm told that some of these new member offices, the staffers can't even log into their computers yet. Of course, you have the new members who haven't been sworn in yet. No members have been sworn in yet. And these poor families have been dragged to Washington, you have kids that were pulled out of school. And they're just sort of stuck in this wait and see moment.

And then perhaps most problematic, if by January 13, this not -- is not resolved, the committee's can't continue to pay their staff or pay out student loan payments. So there are real practical implications here.

And as Brian Fitzpatrick, a moderate Republican told CNN a little bit ago, he said, we have one of our three branches of government offline right now. That is a very dangerous thing for our country. So just a reminder about the practical implications of retracted fight, Jake.

TAPPER: Thank you so much. Let's keep this split screen for one second. I just want to make this point again.

On the left side of your screen, in Covington, Kentucky, the bridge behind President Biden leads from Kentucky to Cincinnati, Ohio. That is an -- that is an event in which bipartisanship is being celebrated. It is Democratic President Joe Biden, Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, in his home state.

Across the river, of course, in Ohio, that is a largely Republican state with a governor who's Republican and outgoing -- or a former senator who helped negotiate this bipartisan infrastructure bill. This isn't a celebration of what can happen if parties work together. That's on the left side of your screen.


On the right side of your screen is Washington dysfunction, specifically House Republican dysfunction. They cannot arrive at a speaker. This is the first time since 1923 that there have been so many ballots and a caucus that cannot arrive on a speaker candidate.

Let's bring in an ally of Kevin McCarthy right now, former Republican Congressman Rodney Davis of Illinois.

Congressman Davis, it doesn't seem as though anything has moved in the last 24 hours. We're waiting for the final vote counts to come in, but I believe it's going to be basically the same as the third ballot yesterday, 202 votes for McCarthy, 212 for the Democrat, Hakeem Jeffries, and 20 anti-McCarthy votes, in this case, they're all voting for a fairly relatively long shot obscure candidate, Congressman Byron Donalds.

Is it even possible at this point, Congressman, to -- for McCarthy to change the minds of 15 of these 20 no votes?

RODNEY DAVIS, FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: Well, I think it's actually pretty telling, Jake, that he didn't lose more support. My sources inside the conference, who are friends and allies of Kevin McCarthy, just like I am, they anticipated losing some votes in this round. Maybe it'll happen next round.

But in the end, I think Mike Gallagher, he gave a very impassioned speech. And I got to give Mike a lot of credit, because he's speaking as one voice for the frustrated 202 other Republicans who want Kevin McCarthy to be Speaker. The 20 Republicans who don't, don't represent -- don't represent much more than a 10th of the Conference that we have right now. Mike Gallagher gave an impassioned speech. The 200 are very energized to stick this out right now, more so than I've ever seen before.

TAPPER: And let me ask you, Congressman, on the left side of the screen, our viewers are seeing a Democratic president in the home Commonwealth, Kentucky of a Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, we just saw a split screen where McConnell was sitting next to Democratic senator from Ohio, Sherrod Brown. They're all talking about a bipartisan accomplishment, the infrastructure bill that's on the left side of the screen.

On the right side of the screen, House Republican dysfunction. What are your thoughts on that?

DAVIS: Well, it's embarrassing. Look, I'm a big fan of Mitch McConnell. I think he's going to go down as one of the greatest legislators in the history of our country. Look, he's been able to get Supreme Court nominees confirmed and put on the court in a conservative sense that he promised and that former president Trump promised.

I think it's also telling right now, you look at the dysfunction in the House. And there are a lot of folks, even those 20 that probably would call President Trump for advice on a wide range of issues. As one of your -- one of your panelists said earlier, this is a -- this is really showing the weakness of a president Trump endorsement right now.

And I think that's one thing that we're going to come out of this conference where those 202 Republicans who are angry, who want to move on and want to govern. They're the ones that are going to be very frustrated. They're going to be very frustrated with these 20. And those who are going to tell them what to do and how to run that House for many months to come.

TAPPER: And what's your advice for your friend, Leader Kevin McCarthy, should he keep fighting and for how long? I mean, the 100 years ago, this literally went on for nine votes, nine ballots. And then the Republican Speaker was in fact reelected after that. After that, gang of Republican rebels finally blinked. How long should Kevin McCarthy fight?

DAVIS: As long as he has the support of the overwhelming majority of his conference. I mean, you can't argue 202 of 222 want you to be Speaker. At some point, there's got to be a break in the process.

And as this moves forward, as was mentioned by Melanie, there's going to be some pain felt all throughout Congress. If we don't have committee chairs and we don't have the ability to have new members utilize their office budget, people aren't going to get paid. That's going to impact Democrats. And that's when I think you start to see more movement on the other side.

Look, the Democrats are having a ball right now. I would be too if it was happening on the other side. I'd be -- and I'd be tweeting out emojis of popcorn also. But in the end, their humor right now is going to turn to anger and maybe they'll want to play ball.

TAPPER: All right, Congressman Davis. Thanks so much, Dana Bash, I keep hearing this expression of hope from Republicans that Democrats are somehow going to be part of the expectation, the resolution here. What do you think?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I think if the shoe were on the other foot, good luck.

TAPPER: Right.

BASH: So I -- it may be ultimately, after we get, I don't know, days and weeks maybe even a month into this, maybe, but I just don't see it.


I just want to return to what you were asking the former congressman about this split screen, because it's just such an indicator and an illustration of how this really is personal and about Kevin McCarthy, the man. And the reason I say that is because Kevin McCarthy would never, ever appear with President Biden in something like this, in an event like this, because he would understand that that would be sort of political suicide among Republicans, and yet -- so meaning he has played his cards as well as he can, given the conference that he is trying to lead, and yet, it is still not alive.

COOPER: You're saying he's so MAGA, but still, they don't trust him.

BASH: Exactly. I mean, Mitch McConnell, he gave up. He didn't -- he hasn't been outwardly critical of Donald Trump. But Donald Trump really does not like him. And the reason is, because McConnell has said -- now, he has a very different job in the Senate. I understand very well the difference. But McConnell has said, I'm just going to do what I need to do on any given piece of legislation. And when it comes to infrastructure, he decided, I'm going to work across the aisle and have done, and it has made him so unpopular with the Republican base.

KASIE HUNT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: The word that I think you're looking for here is governing, right? Mitch McConnell saw what happened in the election and has conducted himself throughout the course of his career as a governing Republican, but he also saw that as the mandate that came down from the American people in the fact that Republicans didn't take the Senate, they didn't have a big wave in the House. Instead, it was this more status quo. Hey, guys, fix it, get it together.

And that's really -- I mean, Jake, you kept using the word bipartisan. You're right that it's bipartisanship on display. But I think the more important thing is they're showing like that bridge between Kentucky and Ohio needed to be fixed, like the federal government needed to do something about it. And so they're all standing there and saying, OK, look, we govern.

TAPPER: OK. Let's listen. And that was the end of the votes. Zenki, I believe is the last one to vote. Congressman Zenki from Montana. It was a McCarthy vote. Let's listen to the clerk.

CHERYL JOHNSON, HOUSE CLERK: The Reading Clerk will now call the names of the members elect who did not answer the first call of the roll.

TAPPER: You see Kevin McCarthy speaking with his newfound ally, Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, who despite being ultra-MAGA, has been one of his biggest supporters in this leadership fight, kind of inexplicably.





TAPPER: Well, hold on one second. Someone just voted, voted present and when that you want to explain you want explain this explain the importance of that.

JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: So this is the first time we've heard this. It brings down the overall number that Kevin McCarthy would need to win. On the other hand, let's look at those numbers. While Kevin McCarthy says he has the most votes, Hakeem Jeffries, actually, at this moment.

TAPPER: Yes. But the present vote came from Kevin McCarthy's title -- total, not from Congressman Donald's. The present -- I don't know if that ultimately helps.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That was Congresswoman Victoria Spartz voting for McCarthy.

TAPPER: Right. But that doesn't -- my point is I understand that the math is such, that the overall total of people voting yay or nay goes down, then Kevin McCarthy's threshold goes down. But he also lost a vote


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right. That's an interesting --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, this is a really interesting picture.

TAPPER: Between Patrick McHenry and Kevin McCarthy is that --



TAPPER: That was Byron Donalds.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So this is obviously the man who was nominated by the rebels talking to Patrick McHenry, who's one of Kevin McCarthy's key allies has been also one of the go-betweens here and has been, you know, mentioned as a potential Speaker of the House, I mean, for many years, but also in the -- in the context of this.

TAPPER: In fact, Patrick McHenry -- Congressman Patrick McHenry from North Carolina, I believe, gave a silver bowl to Kevin McCarthy and homage to his favorite TV show, "The Wire" in which the mayoral character in that gets a bowl full of excrement which is the job of being mayor of the "The Wire."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And he's getting a view of cultural reference from this century.

TAPPER: And that is the job of being speaker. That's what McHenry was saying, you have to eat bowl after bowl of this. That was the reference to that and Kevin McCarthy is getting the contents of the bowl if not the bowl itself yet.

GANGEL: But Jake, to your point, this is an erosion of support for Kevin McCarthy.


GANGEL: Even though it didn't go to Donalds and to the rebels, it went away from Kevin McCarthy. And we have all heard, let's be honest, that Patrick McHenry has been considered a dark horse to be a potential draftee for Speaker of the House.


JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Now you see Tom Emmer who ran the House campaign committee and a lot of Republicans are furious with him because they think they should have won more seats in the last election.

But you see now, first, McHenry, now, Emmer. Two key McCarthy deputies talking to Byron Donalds, trying to convince him OK. You just got 20 votes. You have some credibility among these holdouts. Can you do something about it? What do you want? How do we fix this? We are embarrassed. We are making a mockery of our new majority. Let's fix this.

The question is, are they interested in fixing it? Because so far their strategy has been Kevin McCarthy steps aside, then maybe we can talk. And the -- and how long could they hold that out? And to the split screen moment, senators have to run statewide to Dana's point.

Most of these House members, especially these 20 holdouts, go home to very safe Republican districts. They don't care because they're not politically worried. They believe they can go home and sell what they are doing here and get reelected in two years.

Mitch McConnell is still furious. I could use stronger language, but it's the daytime, that he's not the majority leader. He believes he should have been and he blames Donald Trump for meddling in Republican primaries.

But he's looking at the next election and thinking, what did the American people just vote for? They rejected a lot of -- they elected -- they elected a lot of central right Republicans. They rejected a lot of Trump crazy Republicans.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They rejected this. This is what they rejected.

KING: Right. And so Mitch McConnell is saying, OK, they want bridges built, they want, if it's a reasonable deal, Republicans to talk to Democrats and cut a deal, and Mitch McConnell is being a governing conservative. Congressman Davis, you just talked to, like Mitch McConnell, is a governing conservative. We want to get things done. What's the best deal we can get? These 20 holdouts are not governing anything. They are rabble rousers.

TAPPER: So just to do the math here, we already had one -- the Congress -- the House of Representatives has 435 members, there's one vacancy because of a death. That's a democratic congressman from Virginia. Congresswoman Victoria Spartz vote in-voting present, she's a Republican from Indiana who had been supporting McCarthy. She now brings the threshold down from 218.

KING: It takes two. It takes two.

TAPPER: It takes two.

KING: It takes two votes for president, because think about -- because Congressman McEachin is already missing. So it takes -- he's missing he's because he --

TAPPER: Right. So that means that there are 433 members.

KING: Four hundred thirty three. So with the vacancy and the present vote, for every two not voting for a candidate by name.

TAPPER: Right.

KING: You take it down one.

TAPPER: Right. So now it's a 217 --

KING: 217.

TAPPER: -- threshold. That's my point. I mean, so her present vote, it doesn't -- it's negligible.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But she also needed -- she made it harder for McCarthy to get to 217.

KING: If all of the Democrats keep voting for Hakeem Jeffries, the Republicans cannot lower the threshold. If they lower the threshold too much, they will elect Hakeem Jeffries speaker.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If they lower to 212, right? Hakeem Jeffries will have the votes.

TAPPER: Right.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Also point out that Trump did not move the needle at all on that vote.

BASH: Exactly.

COOPER: It's really fascinating because the 20 --


COOPER: -- rebels are all super MAGA, ultra-MAGA.

COLLINS: But it chose that Trump --

COOPER: super ultra-MAGA.

COLLINS: But if Trump's also not going after them individually, if you notice, he's not saying, hey, you part of these the 19 or the 20 group, you need to vote for Kevin McCarthy. He just said, all Republicans should vote for Kevin McCarthy was kind of a --

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: And that is an option that he knows is available to him that he has not used exactly --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But he has been on the phone with them, right?

PHILLIP: But he hasn't called them out by name --


PHILLIP: -- in public. I mean, he could call into cable news and night and call them out. He hasn't done that. He has a lot of options on the table that he hasn't utilized. But I also will say that, on some level, this whole fiasco, the speaker's vote is a first test of a speaker's ability to actually run the place. And by --

TAPPER: How do you think it's going for -- how do you think it's going?

PHILLIP: Kevin McCarthy is failing. And I think that if you're -- you know, I mean, if you're in the 20, he's not doing himself any favors every single time this goes on failing to get the first set of votes that he needs to get in order to be able to do anything at all. It just -- it erodes -- I think even perhaps some of the people in the 201, it's eroding confidence that he can even do any basic things if he can't get --

GANGEL: Big picture, he has not lost four ballots.

TAPPER: Yes, he was -- he's -- big picture. He's lost four ballots, but also his vote total is going in the wrong direction.


TAPPER: It was two or three -- remember because Donald's voted for him on the first two ballots to Jim Jordan. Manu Raju, Kevin McCarthy is losing votes.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. This is certainly not a good sign for him. He -- their concern had been that this essentially would happen that he would go in the opposite direction here. One of his supporters now voting present, that is not the direction that they needed to go.

In fact, last night, when McCarthy was talking to a group of reporters, including me, he suggested that he probably only needed 11 more votes, and we interpreted that as perhaps some would, of those opponents would vote present, that would actually be helpful if the opponents voted present or somebody actually vote for him. That did not happen here. And he indicated to me going in, he hasn't really -- doesn't really bother him because he still has more votes than the other Republican.


Now, Jake, it is still uncertain what the next step is for the Republicans here. I just talked to Tom Emmer. He is a member of the Republican leadership team. He's been part of all these discussions with Kevin McCarthy. I asked him whether or not we will be going into a fifth ballot on the House floor. He said, I think we're going to talk about that. And I asked him, if has that been decided? He said, quote, I don't think so.

So the Republican leadership has not decided yet, whether they will seek to adjourn the House for a brief period, maybe into tomorrow, or whether they will try to push ahead and see potentially a very likely a similar outcome here.

But again, that goes back to the question, Democrats will have to decide whether to assist -- and with some of those Republican dissidents, whether to assist and vote to adjourn the House because they will need 218 votes to do that, and they did not have those votes to adjourn the House at the beginning of the session, even though McCarthy's team wants to do that fearing that they would once again lose this vote, which they are appear to have done just now.

So a just a lot of uncertainty right now. And just moments ago, here we Emmer on our screen right there, who I just spoke with, sitting next to Byron Donalds. He, of course Donald is put up here by those opponents, got 20 votes, Emmer, a member of the -- big supporter of Kevin McCarthy's. They're sitting next to each other, chit chatting. They were talking earlier. What did they decide to do? Whether it was any other horse trading going on. But the Republican leadership uncertain whether they want to push ahead to that fifth vote, knowing that the -- McCarthy's vote total probably isn't going to change that either, Jake.

TAPPER: Yes. We saw an animated conversation on the floor of the House. And you can see that the very -- like they keep changing the game camera angle, it was in the bottom of the screen there. If you see Congressman Mike Gallagher, who was the one who nominated Kevin McCarthy, his head is right -- there he is on the -- on the top of your screen, looking angry.

And he's listening to Congressman Matt Gaetz on the right who is very animatedly talking about. He's one of the leaders of this group of 20 rebels. He was a never Kevin when it was just him and four others. And you see next to Congressman Gallagher, I believe that's Scott Perry from Pennsylvania, and there are other members.

That seems to be a mix of pro-McCarthy and anti-McCarthy votes. Owe to have a microphone in there. But once again, the reason that we're seeing some of these incredible shots, I believe, is because there are no rules because there is not a Speaker of the House. So the C-Span camera men and women are able to shoot all the exciting things they see in a -- on a normal day, but are prevented from showing the American people because the Speaker of the House, whether Democrat or Republican, never allows this kind of freedom when it comes to cameras on the floor of the House.

BASH: A Wild West it sees.

Tapper: It's very exciting.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (inaudible) mostly having so much fun.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Normally, we just see these like boring ones.

TAPPER: I'm excited. I'm having fun watching their camera angles as well. Melanie Zanona, what's going on?

ZANONA: Jake, a GOP lawmaker told me right before the vote that Spartz was actually weighing a no vote. So we were watching her very closely. Other lawmakers are watching her very closely heading into this vote. She ended up not voting at all initially when the roll call went through her name. And then you saw in the end, she ended up voting present after some of McCarthy's top allies had been talking to her seemingly, trying to work her on the floor.

Now, this present vote, it doesn't really do much to change things for McCarthy. It doesn't alter the threshold as of right now, but it is not a good sign for McCarthy. It's moving away from him. She went from a previous vote of supporting McCarthy now into the present camp, which suggests she is still very much on the fence.

And something to know about Victoria Spartz, is that she is weighing a Senate bid in Indiana. If she does launch a bid in Indiana, she's likely going to have to fight through a tough Republican primary in a red state. She could be up against Jim Banks who's also weighing a bid. He's got the backing of Donald Trump. So that could be part of her calculation here.

And also something else notable is that she was at one of these forums in November about rules changes that Andy Biggs, one of the McCarthy critics, was holding when he was trying to get a number of these concessions and laying out what the Freedom Caucus wants. So even though she's not a member of the Freedom Caucus, there are signs that she had been thinking about the McCarthy vote very, very hard.

Victoria Spartz, Congresswoman Republican from Indiana, who also is the only Ukrainian born member of the U.S. Congress. Kevin McCarthy put her out there front and center back when he was supporting or more supportive, more strongly supportive of the American efforts to help Ukrainian government.

Let's bring back Congressman Rodney Davis, former Republican congressman from the great state of Illinois. Congressman, what are you hearing from your friends on the floor?

DAVIS: Look, I'm watching this conversation in the center aisle right now. It's very intriguing to see who's all there, and that tells me this heated conversation is getting to the point that I've made another segment over the last two days, that there comes a time where you have to have that conversation.


You got Dusty Johnson there. You got Brian Fitzpatrick. These are two leaders of the more governing Republican sides of the caucus. Talking with Matt Gaetz, talking with Chip Roy. These are the times where Kevin McCarthy is not engaged in these conversations. These are members who are talking how to get out of this. This is a big deal that this conversation is happening in the open right now. And I'm going to be on the phones.

I talked to Matt Gaetz earlier. Matt, as we expected, he is never going to vote for Kevin McCarthy. I don't think anybody doubted that. But they were -- they were successful in working with the Dems to make sure that there was not a motion to adjourn once again. That put this vote front and center.

And when Victoria did what she did, it took any momentum away from the McCarthy side, who would have said, oh, we just lost the same amount. We just lost the same 20. But now here we are, you see members talking to members. That is a sign that there is intense frustration, or it's a sign that there's going to be some movement that we don't expect.

TAPPER: And, Congressman, also, we should point out that one of the things that these rebels are pushing for is a more open process, more open debate, more open amendments, less control by the speaker, less control by the Rules Committee, less control by the committee chairs.

We're almost seeing the fact that the C-Span cameras are having such a free for all today because there is -- there are no House rules preventing them from showing everything going on, is almost a metaphor for the kind of freedom that these rebels are pushing for, some of the rebels I should say, but it's the kind of thing that speakers don't like to show the American people. They don't want the American people to see Democrats and Republicans talking in a friendly way, Democrats and Republicans making deals shaking hands.

DAVIS: Well, I don't necessarily agree. I think the American people -- I think the American people watch Congress and put too much into what they see when there's a lot of conversations on there that have absolutely nothing to do with the legislation -- legislating that's happening in that chamber.

But when you look at what Kevin McCarthy has already agreed to Jake, he has already agreed to make this conference the most open and transparent rulemaking process that I've witnessed in my 10 years as being a member of Congress, and 16 years before that as being a staffer.

There -- if you want to know a closed process, all you had to do is work under the rules of Speaker Pelosi over the last -- over the last couple of years. We saw a very top-down approach. Kevin's already agreed to open it up more than what many of these insurgents, more than what many of them even know because many of them just got here a term ago, and some haven't even been sworn in for the first time yet.

TAPPER: All right. Thank you so much, Congressman.

Let me bring in Republican congressman from Ohio, Dave Joyce, a current congressman. Congressman Joyce, always a pleasure to have you on. Your friend Kevin McCarthy who you support for speaker and you voted now for him four times in a row. His vote count is heading in the wrong direction from 203 to 202, now 201. What's next?

REP. DAVE JOYCE (R-OH): They're up to 20 and a half, I guess, with a present vote. It's amazing what primaries do for folks and their voting records here. But the shame of it is that nothing's changed. And the positions that were just being laid out by Congressman Davis are absolutely correct. This is going be the most open Congress ever. These rules are all agreed to.

And the ultimatums that were delivered again yesterday at the last minute, those are things that the speaker doesn't even have the ability to deliver. That's a steering committee assignments that have to take place. And so there's been discussions but no real movement.

And so, you know, I haven't been involved in this for the month and a half before we got back here on January 2nd. I can tell you that this group does not want to get to Kevin. That's the bottom line with him. But, you know, God bless. Kevin is going to keep pushing forward. Because, again, the tail doesn't wag the dog.

TAPPER: So what is your advice to Kevin McCarthy? How long will this go? Is it not possible that this is really just the end of the road for him?

JOYCE: You know, Kevin's going to have to make that call. He's earned the opportunity to be there and can make that call on his own. He doesn't deserve to be forced out by this random gang.

And what you're seeing here is I've told incoming freshmen today that, look, this is a prelude of what's going to come, the coming attraction. When we get up to any big budget matter or we do the debt ceiling or anything else. There's going to be a crowd and they're going to continue to push and shove what they think is the agenda and they're 10 percent of our whole conference.

TAPPER: If ultimately, it becomes clear that they're there just are not going to be enough votes for Kevin McCarthy, who would -- and I understand this is not your first choice, you don't want this to happen.