CV NEWS FEED // House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-CA, expressed confidence that he will survive a new attempt by Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-FL, to remove him from his post.
During an appearance on “Face the Nation” Sunday, CBS’ Margaret Brennan asked McCarthy about the Republican backbencher’s announcement “to seek a motion to vacate” against him. “He’s going to try to oust you as speaker of the House,” she clarified.
“That’s nothing new,” replied the first-term speaker. “He’s tried to do that from the moment I ran for [the] office.”
“This time, he says he’s going to keep going,” Brennan added. “Can you survive?”
“I’ll survive,” McCarthy said, adding that his conflict with Gaetz “is personal.”
“Matt voted against the most conservative ability to … secure our border,” the speaker said. “He’s more interested in securing TV interviews than doing something. He wanted to push us into a shutdown, even threatening his own district with all the military people there who would not be paid.”
Gaetz represents Florida’s First Congressional District, which is known for its significant military and veteran community. The congressman’s constituency is home to both Eglin Air Force Base and Pensacola Naval Air Station.
“Bring it on!” McCarthy said of Gaetz effort to depose him. “Let’s get over with it, and let’s start governing. If he’s upset because he tried to push us in a shutdown, and I made sure government didn’t shut down, then let’s have that fight.”
McCarthy presides over a thin and fractured Republican majority in the House. His party currently holds 221 seats to the Democrats’ 212. Two seats are vacant – one reliably Democratic and the other solidly Republican.
CBS News noted that McCarthy “cut a deal with” Gaetz and his allies “in January as he sought to gain enough support to become speaker that allows a single member of the House to force” a motion to vacate, or a “vote to oust him.”
“The deal helped pave the way for [him] to be elected speaker after a grueling four days and 15 rounds of voting,” CBS added.
During the January speaker vote, Gaetz consistently led a handful of Republicans in voting for a candidate other than McCarthy – the party’s nominee – and dragging the process out far longer than it has been in recent memory.
The Florida congressman conceded Monday that the speaker was “probably right” in his assertion that he would survive the attempt to unseat him. Gaetz accused McCarthy of “work[ing] for Democrats.”
CBS also noted that “Gaetz would need a simple majority to oust McCarthy, meaning he would likely need Democrats to vote with him” to compensate for the slimness of the Republican majority:
[There] is no clear successor if McCarthy is removed from the speakership. Republicans have a slim majority in the House and finding a candidate who could satisfy both the right-wing and moderate members of the Republican Party could be an uphill battle.
Far-left Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY, said Sunday that she would “absolutely” vote for Gaetz’s motion to vacate.