Faced with the potential of a government shutdown within a week, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) chafed at the negotiating process where “everybody’s king” and suggested how working with one party has been easier.
Despite having sent the chamber into recess Thursday after failing to find a consensus on the defense funding bill, the speaker was burning the midnight oil on Capitol Hill over the weekend and met with a press gaggle shortly before 1 a.m. Sunday morning.
It was there that he was confronted with a question as to which party had been more amenable thus far since, as with the marathon vote to elect him to his current role in January, it was Republicans holding out as opposed to middling for the benefit of the left.
“Do you think,” asked on reporter, “it’s easier to negotiate with a Democratic White House in some respects than it is with members of your own party.”
In response, McCarthy drew a distinction between White House negotiations and congressional dealing, falling short of acknowledging that the representative body was meant to speak for constituents rather than personal goals.
“Well, when you’re negotiating with a Democratic White House, you’re negotiating with one-on-one persons with a few of the staff. When you’re negotiating here, everybody’s king,” he lamented. “Because one person can close it down, then once one person gets something, everybody has to get something, then somebody else has to get something now.”
“Do you think these people are negotiating in good faith?” wondered another member of the press who added, “Some of the holdouts,” after the California lawmaker sought more clarity on who the reporter meant.
“I think some are, yeah,” McCarthy offered maintaining something of a positive take only to face the follow-up, “Some? Not all?”
“Everybody has their different reasons why,” expanded the speaker.
As previously reported, while many of the same names who had pressed GOP leadership on certain rule changes before handing the gavel over to McCarthy had assented to a short continuing resolution for the interim as negotiations continued, Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz held the threat of a motion to vacate over the speaker’s head.
McCarthy was alleged to have lost it over that threat in a closed-door meeting where he was reported as booming, “If you think you can scare me because you want to file a motion to vacate, move the f*cking motion.”
Meanwhile, a handful of Republican members that included Reps. Andy Biggs (AZ), Dan Bishop (NC), Eli Crane (AZ), Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA) and Matt Rosendale (MT) had kept the defense funding from advancing on a procedural vote, leaving the speaker expressing how it was “frustrating in the sense that I don’t understand why anybody votes against bringing the idea and having the debate.”
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“And then you got all the amendments if you don’t like the bill. This is a whole new concept of individuals that just want to burn the whole place down. It doesn’t work,” he griped.
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