McCarthy Dares GOP Critics to Oust Him
WASHINGTON — Tensions are rising on Capitol Hill as Republicans fail to reach agreement on spending plans.
So heated has the rhetoric become that during a closed-door conference meeting Thursday morning, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., reportedly addressed recent threats by his detractors to oust him as speaker by dropping an f-bomb during the session.
“You want to file a motion to vacate, then file the f—ing motion,” he is reported to have said by members in the room.
“I showed frustration … because I am frustrated,” McCarthy later told the gaggle of reporters tailing him, cellphones and tape recorders in hand, as he moved about the Capitol.
Earlier this week, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., a thorn in McCarthy’s side during and since the protracted vote on his speakership in January, threatened to call a motion to vacate the speaker’s chair if McCarthy didn’t adhere to promises to slash spending that he made to hardcore conservatives nine months ago.
Continued disagreement over spending came to a head Wednesday, after members of the House Freedom Caucus balked at supporting the Defense Department appropriations bill, which had been scheduled to come to the House floor for a vote later Wednesday afternoon.
McCarthy abandoned the planned vote after it became clear he did not have the support from conservative lawmakers needed for the bill to get past an initial procedural vote.
“We all concede defense is going to continue to rise,” Freedom Caucus member Rep. Dan Bishop, R-N.C., told reporters later.
“But the exchange for that has to be, we have to make cuts in other areas of the bureaucracy,” he said.
“Once the entire package is ready and I can see it and I can see that everybody’s prepared to move it, then I’m prepared to move individual bills,” he added.
That provided little solace to McCarthy, who told reporters, “We had the [Defense] appropriations [ready to go] yesterday, but couldn’t put it on the floor.
“I don’t have one complaint by any member of what’s wrong with this bill,” he said, his face appearing to redden.
Given the slim Republican majority in the House, McCarthy can afford only four defections from his own party on any vote for the spending bill.
That’s because House Democrats are united against a spending plan that Republicans had loaded with provisions slashing or denying funding for a litany of programs related to abortion, medical care of transgender personnel and areas that rile the conservative GOP base.
As previously reported by The Well News, President Joe Biden has already threatened to veto the bill, despite it having no chance of clearing the Democratically controlled Senate in its present form.
As things stand now, a potential partial government shutdown looms with Congress facing a Sept. 30 deadline to pass a stopgap funding package. The House is also leaving town Thursday for the observance of Rosh Hashanah.
McCarthy has vowed that once it returns next week, the House won’t leave again until a spending plan is adopted.
The Well News has reached out to Gaetz on McCarthy’s comments today and will update this story when it receives a reply.