The growing effort within the GOP to oust House Speaker Kevin McCarthy faces one key hurdle — the lack of any alternatives.
Speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press Now” on Friday, Rep. Don Bacon explained.
“It only takes four Republicans to potentially put him at risk and lose the speakership, but the fact is they have no alternative. They have nobody else that they can offer to put up there that the 200 of us would ever vote for,” he said.
WATCH: GOP hardliners threatening to remove McCarthy as House Speaker “have no alternative” that the majority of the party would accept, says @RepDonBacon (R-Neb.).
“We have 5 people who want it their way or the highway. The problem is the other 210 people don’t.” pic.twitter.com/iSEWhRXbBL
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) September 22, 2023
He continued by arguing that, despite the effort by Rep. Matt Gaetz and his allies, the move to oust McCarthy will ultimately be unsuccessful.
“I think the speaker’s position is secure. It may go through turbulence with a ‘vacate the chair’ motion. I don’t think it would survive the table vote, especially if the speaker decided to start working across the aisle and get a bipartisan deal. I think you’d have some Democrats vote ‘present’ and not vote to vacate,” he said.
“In the end, I think the speaker is secure, though it’s going to be turbulent. We have five people that want it their way or the highway. The problem is the other 210 people don’t,” he added.
Allegedly. Gaetz has for his part claimed he has a “critical mass” of Republicans behind him.
— BPR (@BIZPACReview) September 21, 2023
The battle between Gaetz and McCarthy stems from the latter’s refusal to pursue a government shutdown.
During a meeting last week with his fellow Republicans, Gaetz “announced flatly that he had seven members who would oppose any plan to pass a stopgap measure to keep the government from shutting down on Oct. 1, no matter what spending or policy concessions Mr. McCarthy was willing to make to win them over,” according to The New York Times.
Why does Gaetz oppose a stopgap measure? Because McCarthy previously agreed to pursue individual spending bills during his race to become the speaker. In fact, that’s exactly how he procured enough votes to become speaker — by promising to not rush through another stopgap measure.
“I rise today to serve notice. Mr. Speaker, you are out of compliance with the agreement that allowed you to assume this role,” Gaetz announced during a combative House floor speech earlier this month.
“The path forward for the House of Representatives is to either bring you in to immediate total compliance or remove you, pursuant to a motion to vacate the chair,” he added.
On this very floor in January, the whole world witnessed a historic contest for House Speaker.
I rise today to serve notice. Mr. Speaker, you are out of compliance with the agreement that allowed you to assume this role. The path forward for the House of Representatives is to… pic.twitter.com/1IFsrmT8KK
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) September 12, 2023
McCarthy has for his part downplayed the threat that the Florida representative poses.
Asked last week about whether he’s worried about losing his position because of Gaetz, he said “not at all.”
“Go ahead and do it. Matt’s Matt,” the speaker dismissively added.
During a press gaggle this Saturday at the Capitol, McCarthy repeated his previous confidence, predicting that the “few people” coming after him will cave when it’s “crunch time,” NBC News reported.
“I think there are a few people that want to take it all down. For different reasons, for different reasons. I just do not believe 99.9% of the Republicans want that. I don’t think that’s productive,” he said.
“I think when it gets to crunch time, people that have been holding off all this time blaming everybody else, will finally, hopefully, move off. Because shutting down, and having border agents not get paid, your Coast Guard not get paid — I don’t see how that’s a victory,” the GOP leader added.
Should Americans expect a shutdown?
Speaker McCarthy just told me no, and that “when it gets crunch time people will finally, that have been holding off all this time blaming everybody else, will finally, hopefully, move off.” pic.twitter.com/l3bCe3Ce4r
— Julie Tsirkin (@JulieNBCNews) September 23, 2023
What if he’s wrong? Well, a new poll from Republican Main Street Partnership found that over a third of voters would blame Republicans were the government to shut down, as reported by The Washington Times.
Conversely, only 19 percent of the 500 voters polled said they’d blame Democrats for a government shutdown.
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