The right-wing challenge to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) looks likely to come to a head later today.
McCarthy is wasting no time in putting Rep. Matt Gaetz’s (R-FL) mutiny against him to a vote. In a closed-door meeting with his conference Tuesday morning, McCarthy reportedly said that he plans to bring up Gaetz’s motion to vacate in the first vote series of the day, which is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. ET.
It’s not clear if Gaetz has the votes to remove McCarthy. After an internal Monday night meeting, it seemed the majority of Freedom Caucus members opposed Gaetz’s effort, Politico reports. That is a clear warning of ebbing support for taking down McCarthy, but with such narrow margins in the House, Gaetz doesn’t need many mutineers to get it done.
Even if Gaetz’s motion fails today, the Florida Republican indicated that he will continue to bring the resolution to the floor at least 14 or 15 times.
As GOP infighting continues, House Democratic leaders have been quiet about how they are going to approach the motion to vacate vote. For weeks, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) told reporters that they would not entertain a hypothetical and get involved in the House GOP’s “civil war.”
Jeffries sounded unmoved by McCarthy’s plight this morning:
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) told TPM last week that the Congressional Progressive Caucus was exploring options to demand power-sharing concessions from McCarthy if he ultimately needs their votes to save his speakership.
Now that Gaetz has made good on his threat Democratic leadership will have to decide whether the caucus should withhold their votes or — though, unsurprisingly, the appetite for that seems to be missing — help save McCarthy.
On Tuesday, McCarthy shut down Jayapal’s plan, saying a power-sharing agreement “doesn’t work.”
“I’m a conservative, I’m a Republican. I’m a conservative that want to get things done … Our government is designed to have compromise but look we’re in the majority,” McCarthy told reporters. “You don’t surrender.”
Gaetz had been threatening for weeks to try and oust the speaker if he works with Democrats to keep the government open. In recent days, McCarthy has been trying to muster some bravado, publicly telling the MAGA Republican to “bring it on.”
After weeks of threats, on Monday night, Gaetz finally filed a formal motion to oust McCarthy, bringing the House Republicans’ infighting to a boiling point. (Remember Gaetz could bring this motion to the floor by himself because of the deal McCarthy made with the far-right detractors when he was trying to get elected speaker back in January.)
From the time Gaetz filed the motion, McCarthy had two days to bring a vote to the floor. He’s moving quickly to try to put it behind him, though that may be bravado, too.