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CNN Live Event/Special
9th Speaker Vote as McCarthy's Path Remains Uncertain. Aired 3:30-4p ET
Aired January 05, 2023 - 15:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
REP. MATT ROSENDALE (R-MO): But in many circumstances spend millions and tens of millions of dollars that the taxpayers are obligated to cover, and their representative was not even here to vote upon it, and that, my friends, is wrong. It is wrong. So yes, we need to have change. We need to fix this broken system.
Several of us have taken it upon ourselves to fly in and object to those very bills, not because we are objecting to the bill, but just to force them to be brought out into the daylight so that everyone can hear about those bills. To force people to come out and vote up or down for those bills as their constituents believe that they are doing right now.
That's just one of the little secrets, and it demonstrates again, how broken this system is. Last summer, we began to negotiate a group of us in good faith, a list of changes, amendments to the rules of this body. Not to empower ourselves, not to bring personal benefit to ourselves, but to empower you, and you, and you, Maxine, and you, and you, and everyone sitting in this chamber equally. There's no rules. I did not use anyone's name. Everyone should be -- excuse me. Maxine.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Member, direct your remarks to the chair, please.
ROSENDALE: I will, madam chair. Thank you. Thank you. That is so that everyone will have equal representation. Equal representation for the districts that elected them. These are not radical deviations from the norm. These are a restoration of the rules so that this place can function properly.
Things like single subject legislation that most state Houses utilize right now. So, that we don't have 4,000-page documents that we are given a matter of hours to review that are filled with many, many subject matters that are trillions of dollars in cost.
Rules like germane-ness so that you can actually bring an amendment forward on the floor as long as it pertains to the bill that was originally being addressed. An open rule process, again, so that each individual here can participate in the thing that we were sent here to do, to help collaborate and create legislation and work together. That is what we were sent here to do. These are common sense amendments that would restore the process and give each of us an equal voice.
This is how we're going to secure the border, that everyone now, I do believe, has recognized that there is a problem with. This is how we are going to regain energy dominance again, which is not just an economic issue. It is a national security issue. This is how we are going to reduce the inflation rate, by working together, but we cannot call it working together if you cede all of that power to the hands of a few.
Hoping for this change will not create this change, and change is uncomfortable, we understand that, but it is not unachievable, and we must make change in this broken system. We must.
The current leadership that is in place will continue, and support the use of earmarks in this body, and that is the golden trail to corruption. The golden trail to corruption. It is a way to buy votes and spread money around this body from places outside of this city that leads to bad legislation and bad decisions. The current leadership I was told, I should not be so concerned with these suspension bills that get passed every week because now they have made an amendment.
We keep hearing about these amendments and the concessions that were made. The concession was that they will not ask for anything to be suspended that costs more than $100 million. Now, I don't know about the neighborhoods that you live in, but the neighborhood that I live in, $100 million is a lot of money, and my constituents expect me to vote upon $100 million bills and $80 million bills and $10 million bills so that they know what in the world is in them and what is going on, and they do not expect them to be passed by unanimous consent with no one on the floor.
I made a living developing properties, and as many of you probably know, it takes a while to take a piece of ground from bare earth to a community, and my mother, God rest her soul, came out to one of my projects and I had just opened it up, and it had been two years since the time I had bought the property.
And by the time we went out, I had a nice entrance built, and the streets were built, and the street lights were there, and they were just starting to build homes. And she said, my goodness, Matthew, you must really, really be pleased to finally see your project coming up out of the ground. I said, no, mom, actually, I'm pleased that everyone else can see it. Because I sold it two years ago when I first walked out there.
While I have a vision for this place that we can restore regular order so that each of us may have the ability to represent our districts and our constituents equally as we move through this process. And then again at that time, we will be able to call it truly the people's House again.
I have been here just two years, and I have watched Byron Donalds during that time and previously as he proudly served in the Florida legislature, and I can tell you this. He's a man of intellect. He is a man of integrity, and he is a man that I am proud to nominate as the next Speaker of the House of Representatives. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The reading clerk will call the roll. For what purpose does the gentlewoman from Colorado rise?
REP. LAUREN BOEBERT (R-CO): Madam clerk, I rise to nominate Hern as Speaker of the House.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The gentlewoman is recognized.
BOEBERT: Thank you, madam clerk. We have been accused of not having a plan. Well, we've presented many, many plans and are even presenting two plans simultaneously right now for Speaker of the people's House. I sat in my chair anticipating to vote for Byron Donalds whom I respect, whom I see as a leader, and there was a gut check that said, we need someone that is going to convince my colleagues on this side of the aisle that it's time to get going. It's time to build momentum. Many of you have said it.
You see that Kevin McCarthy does not have the votes. You are understanding that he is not going to get there. We have the votes for him. I cannot produce those anymore.
The colleagues that I brought with me to offer those 218 votes on the first ballot aren't there anymore. It is not happening, and as it's been said, we need to get to a point where we start evaluating what life after Kevin McCarthy looks like. America doesn't want more talk, and I'm going to keep my speech a little short. They want action. I'll take that. I want to get to work too. America is tired of rhetoric, and they want results. This isn't chaos. This is a constitutional Republic at work.
I'm a mom of four boys. I know what chaos and dysfunction looks like. This is actually a really beautiful thing, to be here with all of my colleagues debating just as the gentleman from Montana said.
We have not experienced this in the two years that we have served here in Washington, D.C. This is the most debate that has taken place, and I love it. I love the conversations that are going on, on the floor, in the cloak room, in the halls. There's nothing extreme. There's nothing unreasonable. We're trying to get this right.
As my conservative colleagues and I have stated time and time again, Congress is broken, and fundamentally needs change. I'm here to get this right. We need a leader that is not of the broken system. Someone who is in the beholden to the lobbyists, but the people who sent us here. Someone who can unite our party. And most importantly, someone who can deliver on the promises that we have all made to the American people.
I believe that there are many people on the floor today that can do just that. I have voted for my friend Jim Jordan. I have voted for my friend, Byron Donalds. I'm voting for Kevin Hern, the gentleman from Oklahoma. Mr. Hern went from rags to riches, and like myself and many other members, is a small business owner. He has lived the American dream. He's a father, a family man, and as Kevin likes to say, he's a conservative, but he's not mad about it. We could have a happy warrior leading us.
I understand that threats have been made about committee assignments that you won't receive committee assignments if you do not vote for Kevin McCarthy. That is true. It happened in conference, and that is exactly what we were told. But we don't govern in fear. We govern for the people on principle.
Don't be afraid to do the right thing. I believe that Kevin Hern is a unifier. He just received the chairman of the Republican study committee by unanimous consensus. This is the large caucus in our conference. Look how many people have already put their trust in Kevin Hern to lead them.
I get asked by my constituents, where does this go? Who can unify the party? Who can deliver results? Represent Kevin Hern can do just that, and I am proud to enter his name into the nomination, and I hope that some of you join me. Thank you, and I yield back.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The reading clerk will call the roll.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: All right. We are about to watch history being made. Kevin McCarthy running for Speaker a ninth time. This is the ninth ballot. If he wins on this vote, which do not think he will, he will tie the multiple ballot vote of 100 years ago in 1923, but we do not anticipate that he's going to win in this ballot on this ninth ballot.
And in fact, instead of the opposition to McCarthy consolidating around one alternative, they are getting more and more fractured. We actually have four names being thrown out there in addition to the Democrat Hakeem Jeffries who will be in all likelihood the vote leader once again.
There are now two official not Kevin McCarthys Republicans whose names have been thrown out, and Byron Donalds of Florida and now Kevin Hern of Oklahoma.
He is the head of the Republican study group, a group of conservative lawmakers.
And Dana Bash, I don't anticipate that this is going to be any different than the eighth vote or the seventh vote or the sixth vote, except of course, Kevin McCarthy will break the record set 100 years ago with nine consecutive votes before a Speaker was elected.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I texted a Republican lawmaker voting who is somebody who was for Kevin McCarthy. I said, at what point does this get to the definition of insanity, doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result? And the answer was, we're there.
This is officially insanity. But, you know, we understandably have been focused on these 20 in to see if they're going to move. I just also got a text from somebody who's part of the new crop of Republicans, one of whom is -- a lot of these Republicans in more moderate areas are in Biden-won districts.
They're trying to dig in and make the point that they don't want to vote for anybody except Kevin McCarthy, and they will not do that. And so, you have these entrenched camps, even though these guys, the 20 are getting the most play, there are others who are just as entrenched right now in the Republican caucus.
KASIE HUNT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: It's so dug in. I will say I've started to get notes from sources about this extending for not just days, but maybe weeks. You know, people who previously thought, oh, the pressure is going to boil over, come to a head in the next day or two. I don't think anybody really knows. It just seems like everyone is kind of settling in for instead of a kind of relatively quick resolution to another candidate like a Steve Scalise, or some sort of consensus for this stalemate to just continue relatively indefinitely.
TAPPER: Except, let me just say, one of the reasons that I think this is happening other than Kevin McCarthy's determination is the rebels have shown no inclination that they would be willing to vote for Steve Scalise or Elise Stefanik or any other more mainstream, quote, unquote, Republican.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF CORRESPONDENT: I don't know. I mean, Warren Davidson said earlier, there's a whole range of other people we can get to yes on, but it just doesn't appear that they can get to a yes on Kevin.
TAPPER: But he's speaking for the 201 pro-McCarthy people. I'm talking about the 20 rebel.
COLLINS: But he knows the rebels really well. He's in the House Freedom Caucus. He said the other day, these are my friends who are voting no against McCarthy. He was the one who tried to get them to vote yes. And so, I think that's the question.
It's the 20 versus the 200, and who going to hold out longer, and the 20 seem like they have a lot of momentum behind them right now. They feel like they have a lot of momentum right now. If you talk to them. And the bottom line is they don't trust Kevin McCarthy, and so when does that become a consensus view and they start looking for someone else openly.
JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: So, to Jake's point though, it is interesting -- look, we know why Steve Scalise does not want his name put forward. That would look disloyal. You know, it's not that he's not ambitious or wouldn't want it, but Kevin has to step aside first. That's what I think is interesting that the 20 have not actually gone in that direction yet. They could nominate Scalise. They could just throw it out there as a possibility.
I will say a Republican member told me this morning that Kevin thinks if his numbers improve -- and we haven't seen that, right. We have not seen that today -- but if they improved even a little, that he can break the block. But that hasn't happened, and the last time the person texted I said, you know, we're starting a pool. When does this end? And the source said, Monday at the earliest.
TAPPER: Monday at the earliest?
GANGEL: Monday at the earliest.
AUDIE CORNISH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I mean, earlier we were talking during the break about how long can this last, and how Kevin McCarthy has perhaps learned the lessons from the debt ceiling fight, et cetera, that how long can you hold out? Well, we looked it up, and how long was the longest fight?
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: 35 days, government shutdown under Donald Trump.
CORNISH: So, if you'll shut down the whole government, I don't understand why you wouldn't shut down Kevin McCarthy. The stakes are lower.
TAPPER: And these are people --
CORNISH: The stakes are lower.
TAPPER: Right, and these 20 rebels are people who have voted to shut down the government before. Erin Burnett -- Erin.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Can you hear me? All right.
TAPPER: I can hear you now. We have sensed an audio problem.
BURNETT: OK, got it. And then there was a commotion -- all right, got it, and I hear her. So, Scott Jennings, when you, you know, hear Jake talk about this possible split, you've got Kevin Hern nominated as well as Byron Donalds. You have a theory on exactly what this means to lay it out.
SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it's the first time we've seen today, right, the out group go in two different directions.
You had Donalds nominated -- the 20. You had Donalds nominated and then you had Hern. And just I'm wondering at the end of this ballot -- I'm been watching to see who votes for Hern here, and are they following Boebert? Because I consider Boebert one of the people who will never vote for McCarthy. So, I'm just -- I'm waiting to see how many people follow her down the Hern rabbit hole here as a possible marker for, you know, even if they do cut a deal with Chip Roy's group, are the people who vote for Hern on this one --
BURNETT: Is this the number of the number you're never going to get even if you get --
JENNINGS: Yes, I'm just throwing it out. KAREN FINNEY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It also may be a way for them
to say no deal. It's not going to be Kevin McCarthy until you get -- until we come up with a plan B we're just going to keep -- this is what we're going to continue to do.
BURNETT: So, but there is a way to get to Kevin McCarthy that doesn't go through the group of five or six or whatever it might be. There is a way. I'm not saying it's going to happen. But there is a way, that will require some sort of Democratic support in some way.
DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, there are several ways. I he mean, one is the idea of reducing the number of votes he needs.
BURNETT: And just to interrupt you, we just hit five nos. So round nine appearing to fail again.
AXELROD: Welcome to Groundhog Day.
BURNETT: Yes. Go ahead.
AXELROD: But they could try what was described yesterday as a nuclear option which is to go with a plurality or, you know, you could try to put together a coalition of some Democratic votes to support to support some moderate Republican and some understanding of power sharing. That seems unlikely.
Apparently, Kevin McCarthy has dismissed that possibility. But, you know, I don't really know. I mean, I'm stuck following my buddy Scott's crazy theories about trying to read the tea leaves about what's going on here. I don't think anyone knows -- I mean there is not like -- there is a plan here that people are --
DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: So, Axe, why do you consider that a nuclear option to lower the threshold, right, versus staying here for two months and voting?
AXELROD: Well, I mean, it does -- it is a -- because ultimately, someone is going to win that vote. And it does put pressure on those who are not voting for Kevin McCarthy as to how they want to go.
URBAN: But you think if that was announced that the Kevin McCarthy team said this is what you plan on doing, right. We're going to try to whip it. They may say, wow, these guys are serious. They're not going away. They might. And it'd be taking out the bug hammer.
AXELROD: Yes. Right. I just, you know, you basically -- this is like diffusing a bomb. You have to cut the right wire. It's like, it's all over. So, they have to be -- I think that's why they've been reluctant to go down that road. But at some point, I don't think --
AXELROD: I'm never walking away.
URBAN: Not a tenable thing. BURNETT: I don't even want to use the word strategy here. Because I
know in some sense that there isn't one for some. But what are we seeing here? When you see another name being nominated? For lack of a better word, strategy or goal?
JENNINGS: Great question. I think both sides today went into today hoping to grow their side by one vote. You know, get one more than they've been getting. And so, another theory on the Boebert play here is may be throwing out another name in an attempt to peel off somebody.
A member texted me and said, people like Hern, but I doubt folks are going to switch from Kevin McCarthy to him. So, I think part of the strategic imperative today for McCarthy was try to get a little larger. That's not happened yet. But the other side hasn't gotten any larger either. So, I get the feeling maybe they're in that coat room now.
BURNETT: So, is it a sign of weakness that there is a deal being made that you're seeing a second nomination?
URBAN: I would just say that Donald is in negotiating the deal. Right? So, I'm not so sure, to Scott's point, is Hern now the new -- like the new never Kevin vote? Because Byron is -- Byron is trying to negotiate a settlement to this whole thing, and endgame. Why you would vote for Byron?
AXELROD: I think the numbers we're looking at, I think we can all sort of conclude at least at this juncture are meaningless. What is meaningful is what is being said behind closed doors and whether it has the capacity to change these numbers. And what's very clear is they haven't reached that point yet.
URBAN: But to Scott's point, I think it's interesting. And it might be instructive to watch the Hern number. Because we know Byron is negotiating. Right, And presumably in good faith. And so, we'll see if Byron is going to say at some point, I'm taking my five votes and going with me, I -- or 20 votes -- whatever he ends up with.
AXELROD: My feeling is the more this thing rolls on, the harder it's going to be for everybody. Because I just, you know, I don't know who is paying attention.
But this is beginning to become a dreary, dreary march here.
BURNETT: It's very hard on a human level for people after you hit a certain point to move. Right? I mean, it becomes not about strategy and what's right. It becomes a human psychology. So, does Kevin McCarthy have more than nine lives? Ninth ballot for the Speaker happening right now for a ninth time headed to an impasse. There's already enough votes against him to have it appear that he is going to fail. We'll see. Our special coverage continues right after this. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)