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Former Kansas Rep. Kevin Yoder blames House speaker struggles on narrow GOP majority

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01052023_Congress House Speaker
Alex Brandon
Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., arrives to the House chamber as the House meets for the third day to elect a speaker and convene the 118th Congress in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023.

After a series of unsuccessful votes this week, the narrow Republican majority in the U.S. House has failed to unite around a single nominee for speaker of the House.

The U.S. House of Representatives has held vote after vote seeking to elect a new speaker of the House, but none of the nominees have earned the votes necessary to land the position. While Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California has earned the vast majority of votes from House Republicans, some members of the party's far-right faction refuse to vote for him.

Republican Kevin Yoder served as the U.S. representative for the 3rd Congressional District of Kansas from 2011-2019. He says the GOP's narrow majority following November's election means they have no margin for error, playing a significant role in the party not being able to elect a speaker.

"90% plus are voting for him," Yoder told KCUR's Up To Date. "So it's a very small group that have decided they don't want to support him."

Yoder himself is a fan of McCarthy, calling him "the kind of person that tries to bring people together."

"There's generally just an anti-leadership vibe, particularly within the Republican Party," Yoder said. "And so I think Kevin McCarthy is sort of more than anything, you know, a placeholder for that frustration.

Yoder joined KCUR's Up To Date to break down what the House speaker impasse means for the GOP and the country.

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When I host Up To Date each morning at 9 a.m., my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. My email is steve@kcur.org.
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