McCarthy challenges GOP’s hard-right to try to unseat him

September 14, 2023

In an expletive-laced discussion behind closed doors with House Republicans, Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) dared hard-right lawmakers to follow through with their threats to try to take his gavel.

Further insisting that Republicans are not leaving Washington until they fund the government, McCarthy said that if far-right conservatives want someone else in his position, then “move the f***ing motion” to vote to unseat him. 

With a September 30 deadline looming to pass a federal budget or face a government shutdown, there are sharp divisions within the House GOP conference. 

On Tuesday, McCarthy gave in to an ultimatum from some members of the far-right House Freedom Caucus and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) to open an impeachment inquiry into their allegations against President Biden, or they would hold the federal budget hostage.

Though McCarthy did open the inquiry, treats from the far-right have continued. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) in particular has threatened that if McCarthy does not move forward with a short-term stopgap spending bill to avoid shut down, that would be enough to force a vote to seek his ouster as Speaker of the House. 

Because of concessions McCarthy made to with the far-right to secure the Speakership back in January, it would take just five Republicans’ votes to oust him if all House Democrats vote that way as well.

Gaetz responded to McCarthy’s dare by saying, “How about just move the f***ing spending bills?”

Gaetz wants individual votes on 12 spending bills already passed by the Senate that now need to pass in the House to avoid the shutdown—a challenge because Republicans simply don’t have to votes to pass them without Democratic support, especially since McCarthy, under pressure from the far-right, has backed away from a deal he cut with Biden to set overall spending levels.

In front of reporters Thursday, McCarthy was a bit more polite with his language, saying that “threats don’t matter, and sometimes people do those things because of personal things. And that’s all fine.” 

He added, “I don’t walk away from a battle. I knew change in Washington would not be easy. I knew people would fight or try to hold leverage for other things. I’m going to continue to just focus on what’s the right thing to do for the American people. And you know what? If it takes a fight, we’ll have the fight.”

PHOTO: McCarthy speaks to reporters Thursday

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