US House Republicans plot next moves on leader, McCarthy says he would go back

By Katharine Jackson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Less than a week after becoming the first U.S. Speaker of the House of Representatives voted out by his own caucus, Republican Kevin McCarthy told a radio interviewer on Monday he would take the job back if asked to, as his colleagues contemplated their next move.

“Whatever the conference wants, I will do. I think we need to be strong. I think we need to be united,” McCarthy said during an interview on “The Hugh Hewitt Show” radio program.

House Republicans face new pressure to select a speaker after Israel declared war on Sunday, following a rare attack by Hamas militants that has prompted calls for more U.S. military aid.

In their first gathering since McCarthy’s ouster, House Republicans were due to meet on Monday evening. They were expected to hear from speaker candidates behind closed doors on Tuesday and vote to choose their nominee on Wednesday. There could be a House floor vote to elect a replacement for McCarthy later in the week.

Until then, the chamber cannot approve new aid.

Representatives Steve Scalise, the No. 2 House Republican, and Jim Jordan, a leader of the party’s conservative wing, are campaigning to succeed McCarthy, but neither candidate has the election sewn up. At least one other lawmaker, Kevin Hern, has said he may run as well.

Eight Republicans on Oct. 3 joined all House Democrats in a vote to remove McCarthy as speaker, the first time in history that the House removed its leader. McCarthy told reporters that day he would not make another run for speaker.

The full House votes on a speaker. Republicans hold a 221-212 majority and can only spare four votes if opposition Democrats stick together.

(Reporting by Katharine Jackson and David Morgan; Editing by Scott Malone and Grant McCool)

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