Kevin McCarthy may have won the battle but could still lose the war.
Over the weekend the Speaker of the House succeeded with a bi-partisan deal to pass a stopgap funding bill in order to prevent a government shutdown. But refusing to cede to the demands from hardliners in his own party may cost him his seat as Speaker.
Many of the “ney’s” for the bill came from members of the Freedom Caucus, including the group’s most notorious representatives such as Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.), Lauren Boebert (Colo.), and Matt Gaetz (Fla.), all of whom have plagued McCarthy since his long and fraught ascent to the Speaker position.
The southern border was at the center of much of the reluctance on the Republican side to work with the Democrats and come to an agreement about the budget.
McCarthy addressed the House saying, “I’m putting on the floor a stopgap measure that will fund the government and secure the border. No longer can the President ignore a problem he created that kills Americans every single day, destroys some of our greatest cities and puts states in a state of emergency.”
The Speaker continued, “Every member will have to go on record on where they stand. Are they willing to secure the border or do they side with President Biden on an open border and vote against a measure to keep government open.”
Eventually, however, the stopgap funding measure passed with mostly Democratic support.
Republicans Tried to Block Stop Gap Funding
Still, Republican holdouts are tired of Congress abdicating its power of the purse to hold the Executive branch to account.
Rep. Troy Nehls (R-Texas) told Fox News Digital:
“When House Republicans took the gavel in January, we made a promise to the American people to pass 12 individual appropriation bills to avoid a Continuing Resolution in the first place. While this bill makes significant spending cuts and enhances border security, it allows illegal aliens to remain in our communities and continue to wreak havoc across the country. I remain committed to fighting against out-of-control, reckless spending. I refuse to adhere to the traditions of the Swamp. I remain committed to restoring fiscal sanity in Washington, D.C., and fight to always put America FIRST.”
In his statement to the press, McCarthy offered his retort.
“Would I have wanted the bill we put on the floor yesterday that would secure our borders, cut wasteful spending? Yes, I did. But I had some members in our own conference that wouldn’t vote for that. So, if you have members in your conference that won’t let you vote for appropriation bills, doesn’t want an omnibus and won’t vote for a stop gap measure so the only answer is to shut down and not pay our troops? I don’t want to be a part of that team. I want to be a part of a conservative group that wants to get things done.”
Gaetz Threatens to Oust Kevin McCarthy
If Rep. Gaetz has his way, McCarthy won’t be leading that team much longer. Gaetz went on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday and announced his plan to oust McCarthy from leadership.
Gaetz told CNN’s Jake Tapper he plans to file a motion this week to remove McCarthy from his seat over a lack of trust. The motion would force a House vote on whether to vacate McCarthy’s seat, one Gaetz is certain would end in the Speaker’s demise.
“Speaker McCarthy made an agreement with House conservatives in January and since then he’s been in brazen, repeated material breach of that agreement,” Gaetz said Sunday. “This agreement that he made with Democrats to really blow past a lot of the spending guardrails we’d set up is a last straw.”
In an unlikely alliance, some Democrats seem to side with Gaetz. Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said Sunday in a separate interview on “State of the Union” that she would “absolutely” vote to oust McCarthy.
“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,” she said.
Republican Party at War
McCarthy says he’s seen these shenanigans before and is unafraid. “If somebody wants to make a motion against me, bring it,” McCarthy told CNN’s Manu Raju at a news conference. “There has to be an adult in the room. I am going to govern with what’s best for this country.”
In retaliation against Gaetz, House GOP members are preparing a motion to expel him from the House. One representative commented about Gaetz to Fox News, “No one can stand him at this point. A smart guy without morals”
Gaetz has been accused of campaign finance violations as well as claims of taking bribes and using drugs. The House Ethics Committee has been investigating the Florida representative since 2021, amidst his declarations of innocence.
The House has devolved to the level of a high school cafeteria food fight. If Republicans don’t resolve this civil war, conservative Americans will be left standing amongst the scraps.
Jennifer Galardi is the politics and culture editor and opinion writer for 19FortyFive.com. She has a Master’s in Public Policy from Pepperdine University and produces and hosts the podcast Connection with conversations that address health, culture, politics, and policy. In a previous life, she wrote for publications in the health, fitness, and nutrition space. In addition, her pieces have been published in the Epoch Times and Pepperdine Policy Review. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter.
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