Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) said Wednesday that Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) should consider stepping out of the Speakership election after four consecutive House votes were called without a winner.
“Well, I’ve had a number of conversations with Kevin, and I just basically told him that at some point this needs to break loose. He either needs to make a deal to bring the 19 or 20 over, or he needs to step aside and give somebody a chance to do that,” Buck said on “CNN Newsroom.”
McCarthy has lost out to Democratic Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (N.Y.) in four rounds of voting in the Speakership election, but no candidate has secured the required majority of votes. A fifth vote is expected to end in the same result.
Nineteen GOP lawmakers cast their ballots for Republican candidates other than McCarthy in the first two votes, and 20 Republicans did so in the third and fourth rounds. All Democrats voted for Jeffries in each of the four rounds.
“The smart thing to do is to get together, have a conversation, choose somebody and let’s move forward,” Buck said, noting that the House is likely to roll through additional rounds of votes Wednesday as neither the Democrats nor the 20 GOP holdouts are likely to agree to a motion to adjourn.
If McCarthy steps aside, Buck predicts Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) is the next option for the Speakership.
Scalise, a McCarthy ally, has been floated as a possible second option if McCarthy fails to secure the Speakership, though it’s unclear whether he’d get the required majority, as lawmakers may view him as too similar to their first pick.
“The next is line is Steve Scalise. And I don’t know if he gets more or less. … There are a few of those 20 that just aren’t gonna vote for Kevin McCarthy but would vote for somebody else. There are some of the others in that 20 who want changes in the rules and some others who care about policy. I think if Steve meets those three needs, he will be able to move forward and take the Speakership,” Buck said.
The Colorado lawmaker on Wednesday emphasized that the House needs to act quickly to push past their stalemate voting rounds.
“I think that at some point today the conference as a whole needs to make a decision. I think what’s happening right now is people are getting worn down. They’re starting to get some conflict, open conflict, on the floor as well as behind closed doors. … At some point, people have to realize that we’ve got to choose a speaker and move forward. The American people sent us here to get the work done,” Buck said.
Scalise told The Hill on Wednesday that he talked to Buck after his CNN appearance.
“We’re gonna have one more round of votes. And we’re still having some conversations right now. … Sounds like after that we’re going to talk again,” Scalise said, noting that no new decisions on the Speakership race have been made.