McCarthy GOP Ally Dares Matt Gaetz Et Al. To Actually Oust The Speaker

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WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 18: Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA) walks to House Republican Conference meeting at the U.S. Capitol Building on July 18, 2023 in Washington, DC. As members walked to the conference meeting reporters ... WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 18: Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA) walks to House Republican Conference meeting at the U.S. Capitol Building on July 18, 2023 in Washington, DC. As members walked to the conference meeting reporters asked questions on topics pertaining to House Democrats recent resolution to censure Rep. George Santos (R-NY) and former U.S. President Donald Trump's announcement that he is a target in Special Counsel Jack Smith's investigation into the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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One of the few tools far-right House Republicans have at their disposal to keep House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) in their clutches is their ability to force a vote to oust him as speaker. It’s one of the many concessions he made to secure the gavel and why many speculate that McCarthy keeps returning to the hostage negotiation table with hardliners as they force a near-inevitable shutdown.

The speaker has just a few more days when the House comes back tomorrow to try to wrangle his caucus into agreeing on anything. As it becomes increasingly clear that a handful of far-right members aren’t going to accede to anything that would actually help avert a shutdown, McCarthy and his closest allies are becoming increasingly candid about their irritation with members like Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and others, whom his allies have affectionately described as the “burn-it-all-down caucus.”

One such ally, Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA), spoke out about the hardliners’ gambit on Sunday, threatening to force Gaetz & Co.’s hand by filing a motion to vacate the speakership. Here’s what he told CNN:

“I don’t think the speaker is even remotely concerned about some of the theatrics going on right now,” he said. “As a matter of fact … I drafted a motion to vacate for the speaker as well. I’ve got it sitting on my desk right now. And I said, ‘Look, if you’re going to keep hanging this over [his] head and playing these games, let’s just do it now, let’s get it over with. Get your little games over with and then we’ll get back to the things that actually matter.’”

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Latest Where Things Stand

Notable Replies

  1. Avatar for KalTX KalTX says:

    I mean, everything else McCarthy and his supporters have planned so far have worked out perfectly. What could happen?

  2. Avatar for KalTX KalTX says:

    Semi OT. I had wondered. No pay for troops with the current appropriations because they didn’t sign the Defense bill.

    “A shutdown would be detrimental for the department,” she said. “Troops would go without pay. Military families would be impacted, of course. For folks that are not getting paychecks, that impacts how and when [they] can buy groceries, child care, all of these things. Commissaries would be closed on bases. So, we are still … we’re hoping that Congress can reach a deal to avert a shutdown. But we are planning for that or taking steps to plan for that, should a shutdown occur.”

  3. I have long thought McCarthy gave in on the Motion to Vacate change because he thought it wouldn’t be used against him successfully. So far, he’s been right.

  4. It’s certainly an option to try to call their bluff. The “burn-it-all down” caucus (though I prefer dead-enders) don’t have a viable alternative, so at the end of the day, most of the votes will go to McCarthy and Jeffries. But it would most likely end up back in the humiliating dead-lock where no one achieves a majority and multiple ballots will be required.

    In which case, nothing will get done and the shutdown will still happen, just sans Speaker. So it comes down to what do the dead-enders actually want? If they want their own Speaker, that’s just not going to happen since they are an extreme minority. If they want the shutdown (which evidence suggests they think they do), then letting Team McC pull the trigger shouldn’t matter to them. But if they just want to stand on their soapboxes and inveigh against the “establishment,” then calling their bluff might actually call them to the carpet and neuter them.

    I think he agreed because he had no choice. After 14 unsuccessful votes, he had no options besides acceding if he wanted to win the 15th one. Sure, ex post facto he can appear to have 3D chessed the situation, but I think it was pure desperation. Even if you don’t expect anyone to pull that trigger, it’s a terrible tool to even offer because of how disruptive it can be, just by existing.

  5. "It’s tough to strut, grovel, and cower at the same time."

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