Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Republican, said he will try to remove House Speaker Kevin McCarthy from his leadership position this week after McCarthy relied on Democratic support to pass legislation that avoided a government shutdown.
Congress approved a 45-day funding bridge for the government's program, averting a government shutdown averted for now.
In a 2016 interview, Gaetz, a longtime McCarthy nemesis, said that McCarthy was in 'brazen, material breach' of agreements he made with House Republicans in January when he ran for speaker. Gaetz said he would be filing a motion to vacate the chair, as new House rules put in place, reportedly as a condition of McCarthy's securing the speaker's gavel in January.
From the archives : The deal between Kevin McCarthy and House Republicans is offered in exchange for their speaker votes.
McCarthy's response: 'S get over with it and let's start governing,' he said on CBS's 'Face the Nation.
No official speaker has ever been removed from office, despite the efforts of the government to get rid of such a move. Procedural votes could be offered to halt the motion or it could trigger a House floor vote on whether McCarthy, a Republican from inland Southern California, should remain speaker.
Although McCarthy has the support of a significant majority of House Republicans, because the Republican Party holds such a slim majority, he might need votes from some Democrats to keep his job.
Gaetz, 58, said he would not comment on the decision.
Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York said she would vote to oust McCarthy if a vote occurs, calling him a 'weak speaker' who had 'lost control of his caucus. She also left open the possibility for negotiations, saying that if there was Democratic support for McCarthy, it would come at a price.
If you're not a Republican, you can vote for a Republican speaker for nothing. That's not what we were elected here to do, said Ocasio-Cortez.
Biden refused to weigh in when asked if Democrats should help McCarthy stay on the job.
Many House Republicans have criticized Gaetz's tactics. Rep. Mike Lawler, R-N.Y., spoke of Gaetz's 'diatribe of delusional thinking' and said Gaetz was acting for 'personal, political reasons'. McCarthy also made a similar claim, saying Gaetz was more interested in securing TV interviews than doing something.
In contrast, Mr. McCarthy is unpopular among some within his party. It was on display in January when it took 15 rounds of voting to gain the support he needed within his conference to become a speaker.
The House rules allow for a single lawmaker, Democrat or Republican, to make a motion to vacate the chair, essentially an attempt to oust the speaker from that leadership position through a privileged resolution.
In January, when he ran for speaker, McCarthy agreed to give as few as five Republican members the authority to initiate a vote to remove him. When it was not good enough for his critics, he reduced that threshold to one - the system that historically has been the norm.
Proponents of allowing a lone lawmaker to file the motion said it promotes accountability, noting its long history in the House. The last use of the motion was in 2015 when Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, a Republican who later became President Donald Trump's White House chief of staff, introduced a resolution to declare the speaker's office vacant. Two months later, Boehner said he would step down as chair of the Republican National Committee.
McCarthy said yesterday that Gaetz would fail, saying that Gaetz has been after him since he ran for speaker.
Gaetz appeared on CNN's and ABC's, while McCarthy was on CBS' Ocasio-Cortez was on CNN and Lawler was on ABC.
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