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Back home, frustration, support for Texas Republicans who blocked House speaker vote

ANDREW LIMBONG, HOST:

As we just heard, it took 15 rounds of voting, but Kevin McCarthy finally got the votes to become speaker of the House, with most of the 20 Republican holdouts pledging their support, including three representatives from Texas. Each represents a different part of the state, and they stood united against McCarthy until Friday afternoon, when they reached a deal with Republican leadership. Sergio Martinez-Beltran of The Texas Newsroom reports on how it's played out in their districts.

SERGIO MARTINEZ-BELTRAN, BYLINE: I'm in New Braunfels, a city in central Texas of about 90,000 people. It's a Republican city in a Republican county represented by a Republican congressman. You get the gist. I stopped someone walking their dog down the street.

MIKE ROBERTSON: This is Fable.

MARTINEZ-BELTRAN: Fable.

ROBERTSON: And I'm Fable's daddy. Everybody knows me. I'm Fable's daddy.

MARTINEZ-BELTRAN: Mike Robertson is a disabled veteran. He followed the votes in Congress closely. He's not enthusiastic about the new speaker of the house.

ROBERTSON: You can't promise everything to everybody. And you can't be a jerk for 15 years pushing people around when you didn't need their vote to expect them to just give it to you. Politics in D.C. are a mess.

MARTINEZ-BELTRAN: Robertson says he's a libertarian. He didn't say whether he voted for Congressman Chip Roy, who represents this part of Texas. Roy is one of the three Texas congressmen who successfully blocked Kevin McCarthy from becoming speaker for 11 rounds of voting. Here's Roy explaining why on the House floor.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CHIP ROY: I just ask my friends on this side of the aisle, do you think that the American people support the status quo? And the argument that I would make is that they want a new face, new vision, new leadership.

MARTINEZ-BELTRAN: Texas Congressman Michael Cloud and Congressman-elect Keith Self were also part of the 20 that had refused to vote for McCarthy. Throughout the process, Roy was one of the leading voices against the Republican leader, often making appearances on national television outlining his demands, which included changing the House rules and reducing spending.

HEATH BELL: We're all very proud of Chip. Chip has always been very popular in this district, in Gillespie County, in the hill country broadly.

MARTINEZ-BELTRAN: That's Heath Bell. He's the president of the Gillespie County Young Republicans. He says he's not surprised to see Roy taking the role of one of McCarthy's biggest detractors.

BELL: He's always been quite outspoken. So, you know, in a sense, I did expect him to be on the front lines of this.

MARTINEZ-BELTRAN: But some members of the Texas delegation claim that Roy and the others were doing this in a selfish way. Congressman Dan Crenshaw, who represents Houston and voted for McCarthy, called the opponents, quote, "enemies." Other Republicans have said the actions of the rebels have harmed the Republican Party. Vicki, a conservative voter from New Braunfels, says that's not completely true.

VICKI: I think Donald Trump's done more for the Republican Party than these people. I think they're trying to get a point across.

MARTINEZ-BELTRAN: Vicki is a CPA in the area. She declined to give her last name due to fears of being harassed by others in this city. About McCarthy, she says...

VICKI: He seems to be OK, but obviously some of them want someone maybe more conservative. I'm not sure what all the problems are, but I've seen the votes, and I think it's probably gone on long enough. They need to reach some kind of agreement if they can.

MARTINEZ-BELTRAN: They did finally reach an agreement that saw the other two Texas congressmen who voted against McCarthy, Michael Cloud and Keith Self, eventually joining Roy in supporting McCarthy in the final rounds of voting. This happened after McCarthy promised to change the House rules, including allowing any one member of the GOP to bring a motion to oust a speaker. That's a rule the holdouts, including the Texas three, could use to further obstruct McCarthy later in the session. For NPR News, I'm Sergio Martinez-Beltran in New Braunfels, Texas. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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Sergio Martínez-Beltrán | The Texas Newsroom