McCarthy rejects threats to oust him as speaker on debt ceiling deal

Washington – House Speaker Kevin McCarthy says he is not concerned about threats from members of the House Freedom Caucus to oust him from the presidency during the debt ceiling agreement with President Biden.

“Look, everybody has the ability to do whatever they want,” McCarthy said Wednesday. “But if you think I’m going to wake up in the morning and worry about it, no. I don’t mind. If anyone thinks they have the right to do it. Call the motion.”

In order to win over conservative members in his bid to become president earlier this year, McCarthy agreed to a house rule which allows a single member to call a “motion to dismiss”, which forces a vote on impeachment of the House Leader. The vote of no confidence would only need a simple majority to oust him.

Members of the House Freedom Caucus have spoken out against the deal, saying it does not go far enough to rein in government spending and calling for tougher labor requirements for safety net programs.

GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida suggested a vote of no confidence could occur if McCarthy were to rely on Democrats to pass the debt ceiling legislation.

“If a majority of Republicans are against a bill and you use Democrats to push it through, that would immediately be a literal violation of the deal we made with McCarthy,” Gaetz said. says Newsmax Tuesday. “And that would probably trigger an immediate motion to quit.”

Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy speaks to members of the media upon arriving at the United States Capitol on Wednesday, May 31, 2023. / Credit: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy speaks to members of the media upon arriving at the US Capitol on Wednesday, May 31, 2023. / Credit: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

McCarthy said he expects a majority of Republicans to vote in favor of the bill, which authorized a key procedural hurdle Tuesday evening. Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries said “Facing the Nation” Sunday he had understood at least 150 Republicans would vote for the deal, but McCarthy did not say Wednesday whether he would be able to secure that many votes.

GOP Rep. Dan Bishop of North Carolina said at a press conference with members of the House Freedom Caucus on Tuesday that the bill “must pass with less than half of the Republican conference,” and called it “the defining vote for every Republican”.

“To my colleagues at the Republican conference, you have a few hours to make up your mind,” Bishop said. “You are the key for us to find unity again. Now it’s going to take a few steps, by the way, because the decision of the leaders to give up on this is going to have to be addressed.”

Bishop later told Politico he was considering trying to oust McCarthy from the presidency.

“Absolutely,” Bishop said. “It’s unavoidable for me. It has to be done.”

But Bishop also told the outlet that he wanted the support of his colleagues ahead of such a move.

During a House Freedom Caucus call on Monday, Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado called for the vote of no confidence, but Speaker Scott Perry of Pennsylvania suggested it might be too soon for such a move, according to NBC News. . he later said he had only raised it to see if they were “considering a motion to rescind following a broken promise”.

Representative Garret Graves of Louisiana, who was one of the Republican negotiators of the debt ceiling agreement, acknowledged Wednesday that there was “some lost trust” with members of the House Freedom Caucus.

Ellis Kim contributed reporting.

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