It’s Official: Matt Gaetz Files Motion To Vacate Against House Speaker Kevin McCarthy – For only the third time in U.S. history, the House of Representatives will vote on whether to oust the Speaker after Republican lawmaker Matt Gaetz filed a motion to vacate.
Kevin McCarthy is the focus of the motion, which has only been tested twice (and never successfully) in 1910 and 2015. It comes after weeks of threats from Gaetz ahead of the looming, and eventually averted, deadline of a government shutdown in September.
Gaetz, a MAGA Republican who even voted for Donald Trump in the Speaker elections in January, had expressed concern over President Joe Biden’s request for $24billion in funding for Ukraine. With right-wing Republicans refusing to budge, McCarthy was forced to look to the Democrats to pass a 45-day stopgap measure to avoid the shutdown – a move which Gaetz had threatened with a motion to vacate against the Speaker.
As part of concessions to skeptical Republicans in January, the House Rules were amended so that only one Representative is required to bring the motion for it to be debated and later voted upon. The House has two days before a vote will be held from the moment of filing.
McCarthy Stands Firm… For Now
“Bring it on,” were the words of Speaker McCarthy in response to Gaetz’s motion, echoing his bullish nature seen over the past few weeks. On Saturday, following the passing of the stopgap spending plan, McCarthy said: “If somebody wants to make a motion against me, bring it,” when speaking to reporters. “There has to be an adult in the room. I am going to govern with what’s best for this country.”
Gaetz hinted at the motion in several conversations with reporters on Monday. “You talk about chaos as if it’s me forcing a few votes and filing a few motions,” he said. “Real chaos is when the American people have to go through the austerity that is coming if we continue to have $2 trillion annual deficits.”
Given the need for a simple majority to oust Speaker McCarthy, Gaetz suggested he had “enough Republicans where, at this point next week, one of two things will happen,” implying that McCarthy would be ousted or “working at the pleasure of the Democrats.” With the current 221-212 majority, only five Republicans would need to rebel in a vote along party lines.
California Republican Tom McClintock said he could not “conceive of a more counterproductive and self-destructive course” than removing a Republican speaker, adding: “I implore my Republican colleagues to look past their prejudices, their passions, their errors of opinion, their local interests and their selfish views.”
It’s likely McCarthy will need support from Democrats to avoid a catastrophic defeat. His recent impeachment inquiry into the President is unlikely to bode well, although recent cooperation with the stopgap measure may sway Democrats in favor of the Speaker. Furthermore, they may be able to gain concessions from McCarthy, given the unlikeliness of Republicans voting for a Democratic speaker in a future vote.
Shay Bottomley is a British journalist based in Canada. He has written for the Western Standard, Maidenhead Advertiser, Slough Express, Windsor Express, Berkshire Live and Southend Echo, and has covered notable events including the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
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