House Republicans who have had disagreements with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy over government spending are contemplating other candidates to replace him.
McCarthy, elected speaker in January after 15 rounds of voting, faces opposition from members of the House Freedom Caucus and others, such as Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, for not advocating for significant reductions in public spending.
These members, led by Gaetz, have repeatedly threatened to force a vote to remove McCarthy from office. Reports by the Washington Post suggest that House Majority Whip Tom Emmer is being considered as a replacement.
“I fully support Speaker McCarthy. He knows that and I know that,” Emmer said. Emmer told the Post, showing no interest in the ongoing political turmoil.
Gaetz has threatened to file a motion to vacate the chair, a procedural measure that would remove McCarthy from office and halt all work of the House until a new speaker is elected. Other names, such as House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan and House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, have also been mentioned as alternatives to McCarthy.
Republican Rep. Morgan Griffith of Virginia expressed his skepticism in a statement to Politico regarding the possibility of anyone else securing the majority votes needed to become speaker. “The problem is — and this is the same problem we saw with the 15 ballots at the beginning of the year — it is my belief that there is nobody at this point in time that has the majority votes in order to become speaker other than Kevin McCarthy,” Griffith said.
Despite the opposition and the search for alternatives, McCarthy’s position seems secure for now, as no other candidate appears to have the necessary majority support. This situation mirrors the events of 2015 when McCarthy was denied the speakership due to conservative opposition, leading to the election of then-Rep. Paul Ryan as a compromise candidate.
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