After Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) announced his plan to file a motion to vacate House Speaker Kevin McCarthy from leadership in the coming week, McCarthy issued a challenge to Gaetz, calling on him to “bring it on.”
Gaetz vowed to file a motion to force a vote on the House floor on whether or not to vacate McCarthy’s seat after the speaker struck a deal with President Joe Biden, passing a short-term funding bill to ensure that the government would not shut down.
The president signed the bill into law just minutes before the government’s funding for Fiscal Year 2023 was set to expire.
Gaetz, as well as 20 other Republicans, many of whom were on the conservative House Freedom Caucus, voted against a previous funding bill, which included stipulations for border protection and other widely sought-after conservative causes. The bill likely would not have passed the Senate and would almost certainly have been vetoed by Biden.
“This is personal with Matt. Matt voted against the most conservative ability to protect our border, secure our border,” McCarthy said on “Face the Nation” Sunday. “He’s more interested in securing TV interviews than doing something, like he wanted to push us into a shutdown, even threatening his own district with all the military people there who would not be paid only because he wants to take this motion. So be it, bring it on, let’s get over with it and let’s start governing. If he’s upset because he tried to push us into a shutdown, and I made sure government didn’t shut down, then let’s have that fight.”
McCarthy also called out Gaetz’s attempt to work with Democrats into voting for his ousting, calling it bad for the country. Gaetz has repeatedly accused McCarthy of collaborating with Democrats; however, Gaetz himself has reportedly been in communication with Democratic members of Congress to secure enough votes to remove McCarthy from his leadership and negotiate a successor to the role.
McCarthy said that Gaetz is “trying to work with Democrats” and has been talking with Reps. Eric Swalwell and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and others. “If that’s the way we’re gonna govern, I don’t think America is gonna be successful,” McCarthy added.
Several Democrats have already promised to vote in favor of vacating McCarthy’s seat, including Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) who announced her intent to vote against McCarthy to CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday.
“I think Kevin McCarthy is a very weak speaker. He clearly has lost control of his caucus. He has brought the United States and millions of Americans to the brink, waiting until the final hour to keep the government open, and even then only issuing a 45-day extension,” the congresswoman said.
Gaetz has been against McCarthy since the very beginning, being among the 20 Republicans who voted against McCarthy for the speakership during the House floor vote in January. He and Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) eventually allowed McCarthy to take the speakership after flipping their votes to “present” on the 15th ballot.
In recent months, Gaetz has repeatedly threatened to launch bids to oust McCarthy. Last month, he threatened the same if McCarthy did not launch an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden, who is under investigation for his alleged role in an influence-peddling scheme that benefitted his son Hunter in multiple overseas business dealings.
However, even after McCarthy launched the inquiry on Sept. 12, Gaetz threatened to file a motion to vacate in a statement the very same day.
McCarthy told “Face the Nation” host Margaret Brennan about the House Republicans’ wide range of successes, which include passing bills to secure the U.S.-Mexico border and cutting $2 trillion from the debt ceiling, simultaneously criticizing the Senate for not passing an appropriations bill.
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