Florida Representative Anna Paulina Luna said she was “threatened” after expressing her dissent at electing House leader Kevin McCarthy as the new Speaker. Ms Luna denounced the incident as she insisted she will not be “bullied” into giving in to the demands of colleagues and will vote in line with her conscience. Mr McCarthy’s candidacy has sparked widespread division within the Republican Party, with the party failing to get Nancy Pelosi’s successor in the first round of votes on Tuesday.
Ms Luna said: “I got a very inappropriate phone call. Another member had called me basically to whip votes for the Speaker’s race and ultimately ended up threatening me.
“I let that female member know that I wasn’t going to basically be threatened.
“I don’t think I need to put that person’s name out there because I think that they are probably embarrassed about doing that.”
Speaking to Steve Bannon, the Florida Rep added: “I’m not going to be bullied. If you are going to negotiate in good faith, negotiate in good faith, but don’t resort to threatening people.”
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Mr McCarthy attempted to win over reluctant colleagues with a letter on Sunday in which he confirmed he would lower the threshold on a motion to vacate the seat.
He wrote: “Just as the Speaker is elected by the whole body, we will restore the ability for any 5 members of the majority party to initiate a vote to remove the Speaker if so warranted.”
The California Representative is the first candidate to become Speaker to fail in securing the position after one round of votes in 100 years.
He however maintained he is committed to being elected, stating he has the support of former US President Donald Trump.
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A new generation of conservative Republicans, many aligned with Trump’s Make America Great Again agenda, are eager to upend business as usual in Washington and said they are committed to stopping Mr McCarthy’s rise without concessions to their priorities.
Rep. Bob Good from Virginia insisted that “Kevin McCarthy is not going to be a Speaker”.
Freedom Caucus member Scott Perry said he and some colleagues had reached out to Mr. McCarthy with demands for committee appointments but were denied.
The Pennsylvania representative said: “Once the speaker becomes elected, then promises aren’t kept and there’s nothing you can do about it.
“The speaker’s position is incredibly powerful – determines all committees, who’s on committee, chairs committees, and the policies that come out of committees.”
As the spectacle of voting dragged on, Mr McCarthy’s backers implored the holdouts to fall in line.
Steve Scalise, the GOP’s second-highest ranking Republican insisted “we all came here to get things done” as he urged reluctant colleagues to shelve their opposition.