Texas Representative Chip Roy has nominated Arizona Representative Andy Biggs for speaker of the House of Representatives.
The news comes on the same day that Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was nominated for the position by 181 Republicans during a closed-door caucus meeting. In order to be elected to the position, prospective speakers must win a majority vote from representatives who are present. That vote, which does not require the House to elect a member of the lower chamber, typically takes place in January.
While McCarthy is widely believed to be the favorite by most observers, some members of Congress — particularly from the Freedom Caucus — have other ideas about how the GOP should appoint a new steward. Multiple news reports have incorrectly asserted that McCarthy had already “won” the speakership position. Although this outcome is far more likely than any other, neither nominee has enough votes to obtain a majority in the chamber.
According to Roy, Andy Biggs is the right man for the job because he has the “courage to offer a debate rather than a coronation,” despite media organizations prematurely bestowing McCarthy the crown.
Roy, who spoke briefly about his decision to nominate Biggs, repeatedly assured his colleagues that his vote was not a vote against McCarthy, but rather a vote for change and debate.
“We should consider changing the way we do things in this broken Congress,” Roy said in his address before listing the various motivations behind candidates who were most successful in the past election. Governor DeSantis, he said, was fighting “COVID tyranny and wokeism” and Governor Abbott sought to secure the border. In the 90’s, Republicans were able to persuade Americans that they could tackle the rapid rise in violent crime, and under former President Obama they obtained their mandate by pledging to reduce wasteful government spending.
But while Republicans managed to draw out nearly 5 million more voters than Democrats, they walked away from the midterm election with only the slimmest majority in the House and nothing to speak for in the Senate. For Roy, this “outcome is not so much murky as convicting” and instead heralds a need for new leadership. Drawing parallels to grassroots arguments about Washington elites, Roy questioned why only one member of the Freedom Caucus is afforded a seat on the party’s steering committee. Similarly underrepresented, there is only one Freedom Caucus member on the standing committee.
“Voters don’t understand how Democrats, who have championed such destruction, still hold so much power and largely avoided the reckoning,” Roy said. He then asked his Republican colleagues how they planned to “de-centralize the power of Washington” when they couldn’t even “de-centralize [their] own leadership structure.”
“A vote for Andy is a vote to shout ‘stop’ and to stand athwart the status quo. It’s a vote to pause and debate. It’s not a vote against Kevin, but a vote to force us all to the table to figure out how – not if – how we will come together as a party; to re-shape the conference rules; re-think the make-up of steering and the very structure and operation of the rules committee; and most of all, lay out a specific agreed-to agenda and battle plan around which we can unify and to inspire and win the minds and hearts of Americans,” he concluded.