The speaker's gavel now out of reach, Republican Kevin McCarthy is poised to take over the shrunken House GOP caucus in closed-door elections that will determine party leadership and set the tone for the new Congress. The race for minority leader is McCarthy's to lose Wednesday, but the Californian, who is an ally of President Trump, must fend off a challenge from conservative Rep. Jim Jordan, who has support from the right flank and outside groups as a co-founder of the House Freedom Caucus, the AP reports. "We've got a plan," McCarthy told reporters as he ducked into a closed-door meeting of House Republicans late Tuesday.
Republicans complained about the unpopularity of the GOP tax law they blamed for losses in New York and other key states, some attendees told reporters after the meeting. Some in the meeting said Republicans should have tried harder to fulfill Trump's priorities, like funding the border wall with Mexico. Jordan said he told Republicans they need a fighter to confront Nancy Pelosi and her new majority. "I think we're entering a world we haven't really seen," Jordan said, naming the Democrats who are poised to investigate Trump. "It's going to take an attitude and an intensity about standing up for the truth and fighting." Most GOP lawmakers, though, prefer McCarthy's more affable approach, and he remained favored to win Wednesday. (A newly elected Democrat joined a protest at Pelosi's office.)