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 Kevin McCarthy and Bob Good in the House Chamber during the fourth day of elections for Speaker of the House at the Capitol
Kevin McCarthy and Bob Good in the House Chamber during the fourth day of elections for Speaker of the House at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2023.Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Former McCarthy detractor praises his leadership amid debt ceiling talks

Virginia Republican Bob Good voted repeatedly to deny Kevin McCarthy the speakership before lining up behind him.


Rep. Bob Good, R-Va., once a thorn in the side of Kevin McCarthy as he sought the speakership, is now standing firmly behind him as he negotiates with the White House on the debt ceiling.

“I’m thankful for Speaker McCarthy’s leadership and how we’ve come together and did what many thought we would not do, which is to negotiate over the last 90 days a reasonable, responsible increase to the debt ceiling,” Good told Andrea Mitchell in an interview on MSNBC Wednesday.

House Republicans voted along party lines last month to pass legislation to raise the debt limit by $1.5 trillion or until March 2024, whichever comes first. The bill also came loaded with discretionary spending cuts, a rollback of new IRS funding, a repeal of green tax credits and increased work requirements for Medicaid and SNAP benefits.

Democrats have for months called for a standalone debt limit increase. Now, McCarthy and the White House are negotiating towards what both sides acknowledge will have to be a bipartisan compromise to address the debt ceiling before the June 1 deadline for default.

Good's comments are especially notable because in January, Good voted 15 times against McCarthy in his bid for House speaker.

One of the concessions McCarthy made to secure support among the right wing of his conference was to allow for a single member to call for a vote to remove and replace the House Speaker. But Good says that emergency measure isn’t on the table if conservatives aren’t satisfied with a deal McCarthy is able to strike.

“Nobody’s talking about that. We support our speaker. We want him to be successful because the country needs for him to be successful,” Good said. “We’re united in the plan that we put forward.”

Support from his conservative flank could empower McCarthy during negotiations to reach an agreement with the White House even if it lacks some of what Republicans are demanding.

“The fact that they are sticking by him — praising him at this point — is a really good sign for Kevin McCarthy’s ability to bring up a deal that conservatives don’t like,” said Brendan Buck, a former adviser to House Speakers John Boehner and Paul Ryan. “He has enough standing in the conference to maybe be able to endure some of that and there won’t be those threats against him.”