Kevin McCarthy and his conservative opponents have scored a tentative breakthrough after a day-long standoff, giving the California Republican’s bid for speaker much needed momentum.

Conservatives will have more time to work out the details after Republicans agreed to adjourn the House until noon on Friday. But it is a sign of life for McCarthy, who has struggled to show public strength after three days of 11 speaker ballots that saw him fail to overturn any of his rivals.

Importantly, while this would bring McCarthy closer, it is unlikely that the compromise would be enough to get him the votes needed to win the speakership. Twenty Republicans routinely oppose McCarthy, leaving him more than a dozen votes short of what he needed to win the House’s top gavel. McCarthy will need to garner most of those votes, alienating centrists and institutionalists who worry he is giving too much away.

The potential deal comes after several hours of negotiations with McCarthy’s opponents and less than a day after the GOP leader made an offer that basically concedes to all of their demands — including making it easier to boot the speaker. Is.

Rep. Ralph Norman (RS.C.), one of McCarthy’s opponents, said there was a deal “on paper” but cautioned that it was only a first step.

“This is the change we wanted. Now we have more we want to achieve. This is the first round. It’s on paper. Which is a good thing,” Norman said.

Other McCarthy opponents acknowledged the significant progress, but were concerned about whether they had reached a final resolution for both sides to sign off on.

“Great work was done today. There is still much work to be done,” said Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas).

Representative Mary Miller (R-Ill.), asked if there was a deal, replied cryptically: “Very exciting.”

The sign of hope for McCarthy comes after a third day of high-profile failed votes on the floor of the House.

There were few visible changes in those several hours, as his opponents continued to break against him: While most started the day behind Rep. Byron Donalds, by Thursday evening many had broken to support Rep. Kevin Hearn (R-Okla.). went. , A name POLITICO previously reported as a ripple effect among McCarthy defectors. Rape. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) also nominated former President Donald Trump.

But McCarthy spent Thursday’s vote allying with some of his opponents. He was seen chatting with Rep. Andy Ogles (R-Tenn.) and Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.), two members who have so far been opposing his bid. When later asked about the conversation, Clyde told a reporter that it was “none of your business”.

Meanwhile, GOP whip Tom Emmer called meetings in his office during the vote, which included Rep. Dan Bishop (RN.C.), who was one of those who did not vote.

“This is the most optimistic set of talks we’ve had in weeks,” said Rep. Patrick McHenry (RN.C.), McCarthy’s aide. Builds trust, where some people have had trust problems.”

Republicans are trying to postpone until Friday or the weekend because they face possible absenteeism from their own members. And the leadership is hoping that their nascent deal with the Conservatives will help corral support for taking that break.

The GOP is already missing a member: Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) missed the ninth ballot after flying back to his home state for a “planned non-emergency medical procedure,” a spokesperson told POLITICO. told. Buck’s office said lawmakers would be out on Thursday and most of Friday.

The tentative success comes as McCarthy’s aides spent much of Thursday trying to figure out whether the glimmer of hope on a potential deal was just a mirage. In a slim majority, he cannot afford to alienate the other side of his convention, where centrists and institutionalists are already angry about the proposed deal.

“I want to see line by line what those concessions are. And maybe name by name,” Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.) said.

“Disappointed? It’s mild,” he said.

And on Thursday, tensions peaked among House Republicans. During a meeting between McCarthy and Main Street Republicans, Rep. Dusty Johnson (RS.D.) told members that if anyone was wavering, they should “get out” according to a member in the room who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Johnson’s move was meant to ensure that those who stayed were unified in their support for McCarthy. Nobody left the room.

McCarthy’s pitch to conservatives on Wednesday night includes several items at his conventions that were once seen as red lines.

The proposal would include a vote on term limits for members, more seats for Freedom Caucus members on the powerful House Rules Committee, and allowing one member to vote to oust the speaker, according to two Republicans familiar with the proposal. That last item for McCarthy is a particularly steep climb—essentially guaranteeing that even if he lands the gavel, it’s not entirely safe.

Additionally, the conservative Club for Growth on Thursday agreed to suspend McCarthy’s speaker bid pending a deal. This came after reaching an agreement with the McCarthy-aligned Congressional Leadership Fund club, which had initially indicated opposition to McCarthy, to stay out of open House primaries for safe Republican seats.

McCarthy’s camp is hoping that if they can reduce their opposition from 20 to a half-dozen, the pressure on the remaining holdouts will be high enough to cave in. McCarthy has also said that if he can flip enough “no” votes in his column, he can persuade others to vote “absent”, thereby reducing the total number of votes he needs to win. You can get help by doing this.

But Republicans are also concerned that a hardline group of their allies is essentially unthinkable. Earlier in the day, a leadership aide said there were still likely five “hard nubs” against McCarthy: Gaetz (Fla.), Boebert (Colo.), Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Bob Good (Va. ) and Matt. Rosendale (Monte). McCarthy could only lose four GOP votes and still win the speakership, assuming full attendance.

“We need to get to a point where we evaluate what life looks like after Kevin McCarthy,” Boebert said Thursday as she nominated Hearn.

McCarthy aide is also concerned about incoming Representative Allie Crane (Ariz.). In a warning sign, Crane said Thursday night that he was “not looking for a deal” and that “leadership knows where I stand.”

McCarthy’s camp also expects that he may eventually have the support of conservatives for committee gavels, such as Rep. Andy Harris (Mo.), who is pressing to lead the Health and Human Services subcommittee on appropriations. Or Representative Mark Green (R-Tenn.), who is set to lead the Homeland Security Committee. (Those decisions are subject to GOP steering committee approval, though McCarthy’s influence is significant.)

If talks get this far, it’s bound to upset centrists and even some mainstream conservatives, who may argue that McCarthy is rewarding bad behavior.

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas), for example, wants a Homeland Security gavel as well.

Rape. Don Bacon (R-Neb.), for one, called on a member to drop a motion to vacate a “terrible decision” but left the door open when McCarthy got the speaker’s gavel.

“I don’t like it. I don’t want to vote on it. But I’m willing to discuss it,” Bacon warned, warning that setting it at one member could result in moves “every week”.

Nicholas Wu, Catherine Tully-McManus, Meredith Lee Hill and Kyle Cheney contributed to this report.

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