Perry opposes McCarthy, setting up Speaker of House showdown

Matt Enright
York Dispatch

Rep. Scott Perry has officially set himself in opposition to House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy in the latter's bid to be elected Speaker of the House.

In a statement posted to his Twitter Tuesday morning, Perry, R-Carroll Township, blasted McCarthy, R-California, for what he said was not negotiating in good faith.

"In his 14 years in Republican leadership, McCarthy has repeatedly failed to demonstrate any desire to meaningfully change the status quo in Washington," said Perry, who is head of the House Freedom Caucus. "Kevin McCarthy had an opportunity to be Speaker of the House. He rejected it."

The opposition sets up a fight for the position of Speaker of the House and is a testament to the long-running tensions between McCarthy and more conservative members in the House of Representatives.

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The official opposition comes hours before a crucial meeting between the Republican party's conference with McCarthy and a subsequent vote on the House floor.

The criticisms Perry had for McCarthy included presenting what the Pennsylvania Republican referred to as a "vague ultimatum" on New Year's Eve. McCarthy also apparently refused certain people proposed to serve on House committees, though Perry did not provide specifics.

According to a source familiar with the negotiations, the ultimatum was effectively a "take it or leave it" of the rules package McCarthy had proposed publicly.

According to reporting from the New York Times, that rules package contains several concessions to the hardline members of McCarthy's caucus, including proposed rules aimed at allowing lawmakers to use spending bills to defund specific programs and fire federal officials or reduce their pay, as well as ending proxy voting and removing remote committee meetings.

McCarthy also promised hard-right conservative Rep. Marjorie Taylor-Greene, R-Georgia, a spot on the House Oversight Committee.

The House Freedom Caucus' own offer, delivered Tuesday morning, according to Jake Sherman of Punchbowl News, was not seen as viable by McCarthy.

According to Sherman, that offer included subcommittee chairs and committee assignments for House Freedom Caucus members and the ability to control the "Church Committee," something demanded by hardline Republicans, including Perry, which would have a larger budget than the January 6 House Select Committee.

That committee would be modeled after the Church Committee formed in the 1970s to investigate the country's intelligence services and would serve as a means to further probe the Biden administration.

Another claim by Sherman was dismissed as "claptrap" by Perry spokesperson Jay Ostrich. In another tweet, Sherman said Perry and fellow Reps. Lauren Boebert and Matthew Gaetz had asked for a separate legal entity in the House of Representatives to wage lawsuits.

"We're going to unite the team," McCarthy said to Sherman, telling him that there was a difference between fighting for America and fighting for a few members of the House. "This is about the country and we'll have to show the difference."

Congressman Scott Perry (PA-10th District) voting alongside others at Monaghan Presbyterian Church in Dillsburg on Nov. 8, 2022.

In a statement, Ostrich said that if McCarthy reaches the 218-vote threshold needed, they expect him to govern in good faith, including no retaliation against those who worked against McCarthy, which would include Perry.

— Reach Matt Enright via email at menright@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @Matthew_Enright.