Key natsec Republicans back McCarthy, criticize stalled election for House speaker

By Tony Bertuca / January 5, 2023 at 9:56 AM

A joint statement from Republicans expected to chair three key national security committees today voiced support for Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who has lost several historic votes to become House speaker, stymieing the work of Congress.

The statement was released by Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL), expected to chair the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), expected to chair the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH), expected to chair the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

“As the incoming chairs of the national security committees, we strongly support Kevin McCarthy for speaker,” the lawmakers said. “McCarthy’s Commitment to America agenda outlines a stronger approach to countering China, a plan to investigate the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan, and how a Republican majority will hold this administration accountable. The Biden administration is going unchecked and there is no oversight of the White House, State Department, Department of Defense, or the intelligence community. We cannot let personal politics place the safety and security of the United States at risk.”

Committee work, including the naming of chairs and members, cannot begin until a House speaker is elected.

Meanwhile, McCarthy and his supporters were scrambling Wednesday night to make concessions to 20 lawmakers who have refused to support him for House speaker, denying him the 218-vote threshold he needs to win.

Among other things, McCarthy’s opponents have criticized Congress’ support for Ukraine, which has included several emergency supplemental aid packages totaling more than $100 billion since the start of a Russian invasion in February.

Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) said on the House floor that the aid should be debated including “whether it should be more or less.”

“We should be in here having this kind of a conversation with this many people in the room about Ukraine,” he said. “The only way you’re going to get that is if you change the rules and have the leadership to advance the rules to make sure that we can do that.”

The House is expected to convene again today to take a seventh vote for speaker.