(NewsNation) — The 118th U.S. Congress will be sworn into office Tuesday, with control of the Senate remaining in Democratic hands. The House, however, is set to flip to the Republicans, who will hold a slim majority.
The big question that remains is who the next House Speaker will be.
NewsNation has confirmed House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) held a conference call trying to hammer out a deal to gain enough support from his own party to become Speaker of the House.
McCarthy is essentially agreeing on new rules in the next Congress that would allow just five members of the House at any point to call for a vote to remove the Speaker.
It’s a big concession, one that Leader McCarthy himself said a couple of weeks ago, he would never make, but at this point, he is still desperate to get the support from his own party to become Speaker.
All of this is in addition to the fact that we’re still trying to figure out who this next Congress is going to be, what they’ll be about and what they can accomplish.
The new Congress is sworn in this coming Tuesday. A Republican House and Democratic Senate mean no one party can jam through any big priorities into law without at least some cooperation from the other side.
“I don’t think either party is going to be able to get anything that’s out on the edges,” said Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.). “But there will be many many things in the middle, that we do together.”
Congressman Don Byers says while there is sure to be some gridlock, there are areas both parties seem to want to work on together in the new year.
Both parties largely support more aid to Ukraine, getting tougher on China over trade and national security. And it’s possible to find support for addressing the migrant surge at the border along with some immigration reform.
But we do expect plenty of fireworks and political fights. With their new majority, House Republicans promise to launch new investigations into Hunter Biden, the troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, Dr. Fauci and the origins of COVID and the southern border, not to mention the intraparty battle for the gavel.
McCarthy still appears to be short of the 218 votes, he needs to become Speaker of the House.
“He’s done the hard work, he has the respect of people,” said Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) “Quite frankly there’s an inevitability that he will be the Speaker. So now it’s time for those few holdouts to decide, what is it they really want.”
While most Republicans say it’s time to coalesce around McCarthy, the Republican leader isn’t there yet.
Of the 222 House Republicans McCarthy can only afford to lose four and as of Sunday, at least five say they’ll vote against him.
If McCarthy isn’t elected speaker on that first round of voting, it’ll be the first time since 1923 that’s happened.
There are other demands that House Republicans, some of them a small group, are demanding of him. And it’s not clear whether he’s going to coalesce or whether he’ll give in to those ones as well. One demand is they want more say in who gets to be on which committee. Right now there’s only a small group that gets to decide that and they want it to be broader.
There’s also a demand for him to put legislation up for 72 hours, making it public before it gets a vote. His office seems to be more amenable to that one. But we will see once they come out with their official rule changes.