Jan 6, 2023 - News

Austin-area lawmakers stymie McCarthy's bid for speaker

Chip Roy consults with Kevin McCarthy on the U.S. House floor.

Rep. Chip Roy, center, is probably not telling House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, right: "I'm warning you, don't let any more of your California folks move to Texas," as Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, left, looks on. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Two Central Texas Republican members of the U.S. House have been giving Kevin McCarthy grief as the GOP leader seeks the speakership.

Catch up quick: McCarthy has lost his bid for the role 11 times so far.

Driving the news: Chip Roy, who represents parts of southwest Austin, and Michael Cloud, who represents part of Bastrop County, are among 20 or so Republican rebels voting against McCarthy.

  • As members of the House Freedom Caucus, Roy and Cloud say they're trying to loosen the power of the speaker to make the holder of the gavel more accountable.
  • The other side: Fellow Republicans say these lawmakers are self-involved, short-sighted and harming the party.

The big picture: The House spectacle this week has put GOP infighting on display.

We checked in with GOP county chairs to see whether they're cheering their representatives or worry their posture is weakening the party.

What they're saying: "Members seeking rules changes to make the House function more transparently are improving the institution," Matt Mackowiak, GOP chair of the Travis County, which Roy represents, tells Axios. "But at some point we have to get the House majority working on the issues that are most urgent for average Americans."

  • "I support Cloud in what he's trying to do," Bastrop County GOP chair Curtis Courtney tells Axios. "He's trying to get them to be more conservative."

Of note: Roy is the former chief of staff to U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, who has engendered animosity among his fellow Republicans for, among other things, gumming up legislative works.


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