Nebraska U.S. House Representatives frustrated over GOP holdouts

Flood and Don Bacon, Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District representative say the mood on the House floor has been tense.
After 6 votes, a Speaker of the House still has not been chosen -- and Nebraska lawmakers are growing tired.
Published: Jan. 4, 2023 at 10:31 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - As the top post for the U.S. House of Representatives remains empty, Nebraska’s republican representatives are growing frustrated and tired.

After six votes - all of which failed to elect Kevin McCarthy as speaker - over the course of two days, the House adjourned Wednesday evening after several hours of closed-door negotiations with the GOP holdout members.

It’s the first time in 100 years that the vote for the position has taken more than just one vote.

“I’m frustrated, I know people in America are frustrated, I know Nebraskans are watching this process and we are used to seeing this go much quicker. As someone who has been in a legislature for 11 years of my life, I know how these places work and I can tell you that we are going to elect Kevin McCarthy as speaker,” said Nebraska’s District 1 representative Mike Flood.

California Republican McCarthy needs 218 votes to be elected, but there are 21 GOP members that refuse to support him. All 218 Democrats have consistently voted for Hakeem Jeffries.

Flood and Don Bacon, Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District representative, say the mood on the House floor has been tense.

“There’s clearly tension, and it’s difficult, negotiating is difficult, anyone that’s ever tried to solve any problem within their own family with different viewpoints can understand what something like this is, and there are all sorts of different personalities involved,” Flood says.

“We’re discouraged, and we’re angry at the 9% of Republicans who have not become part of the team, we have voted for Kevin McCarthy, 91% has voted for him, its time to coalesce around the far majority of votes and become a team,” Bacon told 6 News after the House adjourned for the night.

All of Nebraska’s and Iowa’s Republican representatives have voted for McCarthy in all six votes.

Bacon says those other 21 Republicans are holding the government hostage, asking McCarthy for chairman positions of committees in exchange for a vote for him.

“You know, all of us have to work for those, you have to earn your way to these things, right, and they’re trying to have it delivered to them by threats saying we won’t vote for you unless you do this, and it’s just wrong,” Bacon adds.

Flood tells 6 News he’s not willing to work with Democrats on potential deals if those 21 members don’t budge.

“I want to find a solution that unites Republicans, I do not support sharing power with the Democrats, I’m not walking over to the other side to try to change anything with them, because the American people clearly wanted a change, they didn’t want Nancy Pelosi, they didn’t want Democrats in charge, that’s why we have 222 members that are elected Republicans and I don’t support going over there and doing any deals with them.”

Flood adds that the Democrats have been frustrating on the House floor over the last several days, too.

“From where sit in the chamber, the Democrats have been howling, mocking us, it’s been difficult to watch some of the antics over there when they talk about ordering popcorn or whatever it is, this is a much bigger deal than they’re making it out to be, we are focused on doing the right thing for America and that means uniting Republicans and working with members in our party to get this solved.”

But Bacon says it may be time to start reaching across the aisle.

“I mean we shouldn’t say the only solution is to accommodate these bullies, if we have to make adjustments to committee ratios, make adjustments to rules that will be more equal to the Democrats, those kinds of decisions we need to have.”

The House will reconvene on Thursday for at least a seventh vote. They will meet at 11 a.m. Central Time.