Republican Rep. James Comer, who is set to chair the House Oversight Committee, said he doesn’t think GOP Rep. Kevin McCarthy is the “perfect” House speaker, but he’s “the right person to lead our conference at the right time.”
The House will likely try for a fourth time Wednesday to elect a speaker following a day of chaos in the Republican Party. After three rounds of voting Tuesday, McCarthy failed to get the majority of votes needed to win. Nothing else can happen in the House until a speaker is elected.
“We agree we need a speaker,” Comer told “CBS Mornings” on Wednesday. “We need a speaker today, so I think it’s important in political negotiations that both sides try to figure out an out here.”
“Both sides have dug in the sand, and I think we’ve got to come up with some type of consensus so we can elect our speaker and move forward with our Republican agenda that voters overwhelmingly gave us during the midterms this past November,” he said. Republicans hold a nine-vote majority in the 118th Congress.
Comer believes that for the Republicans opposed to McCarthy’s bid, “a lot of this is personal.” He also thinks McCarthy is being “blamed for the sins” of past speakers.
“And I think Kevin’s gotten the message: Look, if you don’t work with all factions of the Republican conference, then you’re gonna face peril, and I think that was played out yesterday,” he said.
He also said there is going to be a lot of back and forth and infighting as negotiations continue.
“And I hope yesterday was a good exercise in helping everyone learn, look, we’ve got to get to 218, nobody’s gonna get everything that they want,” he added, referring to the votes McCarthy needs to become speaker.
Once the position is filled and committees are in place, the House wants to focus on waste, fraud, abuse and mismanagement in the federal government, Comer said, “starting with our tax dollars.”