Top U.S. House Republican Kevin McCarthy could face a premature end to his role as speaker after a harsh critic within his own party called for a vote to impeach him after passing an emergency funding bill which received more support from Democrats than from Republicans.
The Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted 335-91 in favor of a 45-day stopgap measure, hours before funding for federal agencies was set to expire. The Democratic-led Senate later passed the same bill with bipartisan support and sent it to President Joe Biden to sign into law.
Hardline Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz told CNN on Sunday that he would file a “motion to evict,” a call for a vote to remove McCarthy as chairman.
Shortly after the House of Representatives passed a bill aimed at preventing a partial government shutdown, hardline Republican conservatives began targeting McCarthy’s role as Speaker, claiming he had delivered a victory for the “Uniparty” of Washington.
‘Should he remain Speaker of the House of Representatives?’ asked Republican Rep. Andy Biggs, a leading hardliner, on the social platform X, formerly known as Twitter.
McCarthy decided to vote on a measure that could win Democratic support, knowing full well that it could jeopardize his job. One of his advisers told Reuters that the speaker believed some hardliners would try to oust him under any circumstances.
“Go ahead and try,” McCarthy said Saturday in comments addressed to his opponents. ‘You know what? If I have to risk my job to stand up for the American public, I will.”
The bipartisan measure passed a day after Biggs and 20 other hardliners blocked a Republican relief bill that provided sharp spending cuts and immigration and border restrictions favored by hardliners.
The failure of the Republican bill ended that party’s hopes of passing a conservative measure and opened the door to the bipartisan measure supported by 209 Democrats in the House of Representatives and 126 Republicans. Ninety Republicans opposed the stopgap measure.
Hardliners complained that the measure, known as a continuing resolution, or CR, left in place policies favored by Democrats including Biden, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“Kevin McCarthy put a CR on the floor that got 209 Democrats votes because it perpetuated the Biden-Pelosi-Schumer policies that are destroying the country and the spending levels that are bankrupting us,” said hardline Rep. Bob Good on X.
Under an agreement McCarthy reached with hardliners to become speaker in January, only one lawmaker can trigger his potential ouster by “vacating the seat.”
“I know one thing. If Kevin McCarthy uses the Democrats’ votes in the House of Representatives to advance Joe Biden’s spending priorities, he cannot remain as Republican chairman,” Gatez told far-right channel Real America’s Voice on Wednesday.
It was not clear what action Democrats would take if a Republican left the chair and the House of Representatives voted on the measure.
Republican Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, co-chair of the bipartisan Problem Solvers’ Caucus, said bipartisanship itself would be the real issue in any vote on McCarthy’s future.
“The motion to leave will come… and the question will be: are we going to punish or reward leaders who set aside bipartisan solutions? That is absolutely the question,” Fitzpatrick told reporters.
Some Democrats have suggested they might support McCarthy if an impeachment attempt were to occur during a turbulent time. Others have suggested they might support a moderate Republican willing to share the gavel with them and allow power-sharing within House committees. Others have shown no interest in helping a speaker candidate, aside from House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries.
“That’s his problem,” Democratic Rep. Jim McGovern said of McCarthy. “I am voting for Hakeem Jeffries as speaker.”
“People have asked to make a deal with them. But I’m not a cheap date. I’m an expensive date.”
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)