In a bold move that could cause turmoil in the House of Representatives, Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz announced his intention to hold a vote this week to remove Speaker Kevin McCarthy from his position. Gaetz, a long-time critic of McCarthy, criticized the speaker’s leadership and his support for a bipartisan funding bill to prevent a government shutdown. The bill passed on Saturday without including provisions for border security or spending cuts demanded by some Republicans. Gaetz’s motion to vacate McCarthy’s position could potentially succeed, as a small group of detractors could remove him from power, effectively halting legislative business until a replacement is found.
During an interview on ABC’s “This Week,” Gaetz expressed his doubts about whether he currently has sufficient support to oust McCarthy. However, he stated that he may garner enough votes before 15 rounds of ballots, similar to how McCarthy won the speakership in the past. Gaetz emphasized that this motion is not personal but about holding McCarthy accountable for failing to fulfill promises made during his bid for speaker, including efforts to reduce spending and reject funding through continuing resolutions and omnibus bills. Despite criticism from other conservatives and accusations of being “delusional” and “duplicitous,” Gaetz remains steadfast in his objective to remove McCarthy and pushing for single-subject spending bills.
The outcome of Gaetz’s motion remains uncertain, but it represents a significant challenge to McCarthy’s leadership. It is unclear if Gaetz has enough support for this dramatic move, and the motion to vacate has never been successfully used against a speaker before. However, Gaetz’s determination suggests that he will continue to pursue his objective even if the initial motion is defeated. Gaetz’s actions have also sparked responses from Democrats, including Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who expressed her intention to vote to remove McCarthy, further complicating the situation for the speaker. Ultimately, this power struggle within the Republican Party highlights divisions over spending priorities and strategies for negotiations in Washington.