A fifth Republican has expressed opposition to California Rep. Kevin McCarthy as speaker, promising there are "many more who will take our position." GOP Rep. Ralph Norman of South Carolina, who's with the House Freedom Caucus, told Politico on Tuesday that he would be a "hard" no against McCarthy, who told Norman he didn't agree to the Republican Study Committee's seven-year plan to balance the federal budget. "Economic security is national security. I was not happy with the answer Kevin gave me about balancing the budget," said Norman. "If we have our way, we're gonna have some firm economic mandates."
Asked if McCarthy could persuade him, Norman said, "It's too late right now." He added: "You will hear of many more who will take our position." Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona, who's challenging McCarthy, has said he'll vote against him, as has Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, per Forbes. Meanwhile, Reps. Matt Rosendale of Montana and Bob Good of Virginia have expressed uncertainty about McCarthy's ability to lead. Meanwhile, Rep. Chip Roy of Texas—who, like Norman, voted to nominate Biggs—has doubted whether McCarthy can obtain the 218 votes needed to be named speaker in six weeks' time. That leaves McCarthy "in about as tight a spot as he could find himself," per Time, which dubs his opposition the "NeverKevins."
Except for Gaetz, all those in opposition are members of the Freedom Caucus, which is looking for concessions from McCarthy, including a change to allow any member to commence proceedings to remove the speaker. But "at the top of the Freedom Caucus' agenda" is a ban on earmarking, the practice that allows members of Congress to add funding for home-state projects into bills, per Time. The proposed ban is among several rule amendments to be considered after Congress' Thanksgiving recess. McCarthy has already agreed to appoint 19 regional representatives to the steering committee, up from 13, "pushing the power further down to more regions, more to the conference itself," McCarthy said, per the Hill. (Read more Kevin McCarthy stories.)