A group of moderate Republicans in Congress, led by Utah Rep. Blake Moore, are urging their colleagues to come together and support House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy for House speaker when the GOP majority takes control in January.
Twenty-one Republicans from the Republican Governance Group, including Utahns Moore and Rep. John Curtis, signed a letter to their GOP colleagues asking them to put aside any differences they may have and vote for McCarthy to avoid a potentially politically damaging floor fight when the House meets to elect a new speaker on Jan. 3.
“The American people handed us the gavel, but they did so skeptically. If we do not immediately put the posturing aside and focus on responsible governance, we will have failed to fulfill the great responsibility they have bestowed upon us before the 118th Congress begins,” the group wrote.
“It comes down to a simple choice: do you want to make a point or a difference?,” they told Republicans. “If the answer is the latter, then Kevin McCarthy deserves your full support.”
Moore, in a statement, said the GOP debate on McCarthy’s leadership prospects is “just posturing and grandstanding” and he’s confident McCarthy will be elected as House speaker.
“I was proud to join Rep. David Joyce [of Ohio] and other effective, conservative members in leading this letter of support, and I look forward to seeing McCarthy with the gavel so we can address the economic crises facing our nation and hold the Biden Administration accountable,” Moore said in the statement.
According to their website, the Republican Governance Group says they “advocate for common-sense legislation” and many members represent swing districts.
Republicans will have a 222-212 majority when the new Congress is sworn in come January. He needs 218 votes to be elected speaker. At least five hard-right members of the House GOP caucus have said they won’t support McCarthy, which could sink his bid.
South Carolina Rep. Ralph Norman told Fox News this week he is a “hard no” on McCarthy’s bid for speaker unless the Californian agrees to fiscal cuts that will lead to a balanced budget.
Other Republican House members who say they will oppose McCarthy include Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona, who plans to challenge McCarthy for the speakership, Bob Good of Virginia, Matt Gaetz of Florida and Matt Rosendale of Montana, according to Fox News.
Friday’s letter warned succumbing to internal divisions would hurt their ability to counter the Democratic-controlled Senate and White House.
“Our Democratic colleagues would only be too happy if we contributed to their efforts to derail our agenda with self-inflicted snags, like not rallying around our already elected leadership,” they wrote.
Curtis did not respond to a request for comment.
Editor’s note • This story was updated on Dec. 5 to include a statement from Utah Rep. Blake Moore.