Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona discusses his run for House speaker
PHOENIX — U.S. Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona on Friday discussed why he ran for House speaker and how he doesn’t believe Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has the votes to assume the position from Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“The way the election happens is that all the Republicans get together shortly after the election after Nov. 8 — we all get together and if nobody ran against Kevin (McCarthy) he would have been this basically de factor speaker by acclamation,” Biggs told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show.
“I just felt like we couldn’t let that happen.”
He added that others agreed with him, as 36 people voted against McCarthy.
Biggs lost his bid to become House speaker on Nov. 15 when McCarthy was nominated to replace Pelosi.
The speaker presides over the house and is No. 3 in line for the presidency, Biggs explained as he discussed the importance of leadership elections.
“You actually have the floor vote over the whole body and on Jan. 3, we’ll stand up and we will say the name of who we want to be the speaker,” Biggs said.
There needs to be a majority vote of at least 217, he said, following the death of Democrat Rep. Donald McEachin of Virginia last month.
“One of the problems that’s happened under Pelosi is they took away, effectively, the right to vacate the chair, which means to hold the speaker accountable and remove them from their speakership,” Biggs said.
“Kevin McCarthy’s allies basically made it even harder to hold the speaker accountable in any way, shape or form and that’s bad for the country. That’s bad for this institution.”
Biggs has previously said he didn’t believe McCarthy had the votes, but it was favored for the Californian 188-31 last month with ballots submitted by newly elected and returning GOP lawmakers.
The formal vote for House speaker will take place next month.
“Kevin is now starting to realize he doesn’t have the votes, but he’s not going quietly. He says he’s going to be the speaker, no matter how many ballots it takes for him to get there. That’s his argument, so that can be painful,” Biggs said.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.