McCarthy faces potential hurdle from Freedom Caucus in bid for speakership

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The House Freedom Caucus could once again present a barrier-to-entry for Bakersfield congressman and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s and his chances of replacing outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan, POLITICO reports

“Nearly all the hard-liners” in the conservative group told the news outlet they would require favors from McCarthy, including “[pushing] Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell… to take up conservative House-passed bills,” and various changes to “conservative policy” and the “legislative process.” 

McCarthy abruptly dropped out of the race for the speakership when John Boehner announced his retirement from the position in 2015. The Freedom Caucus backed Paul Ryan. McCarthy dropped out the same day he was expected to be nominated for the position, saying he was “not the right person to the job,” according to NBC News

At the time, McCarthy said he and his staff did not see a route to the 218 votes needed. The House Majority Leader had recently come under fire from the Freedom Caucus and other conservatives for downplaying the Benghazi investigation as an attempt to derail Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. 

McCarthy has seen wide support this time around, including from Paul Ryan himself, but he could be sidelined if he fails to convince enough members of the Freedom Caucus to back him in his bid for the speakership. 

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