POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

McCarthy ouster vote ahead, says he won’t cut a deal with Democrats

Oct 3, 2023, 12:48 PM | Updated: 3:32 pm

Image of U.S. House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, who is fighting for his speakership today....

U.S. House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) listens in the House Chamber during the second day of elections for Speaker of the House at the U.S. Capitol Building on January 04, 2023. (Win McNamee/ Getty Images)

(Win McNamee/ Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Speaker Kevin McCarthy is confronting his hard-right critics head-on Tuesday as he faces a historic challenge to oust him from leadership, insisting he will not cut a deal with Democrats to remain in power and setting the stage for an extraordinary and unpredictable showdown on the House floor.

The Republican McCarthy’s fate is deeply uncertain as he faces what’s known as a “motion to vacate” from Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, a strident critic allied with Donald Trump. It would take the support of only a handful of Republicans from his slim majority to remove McCarthy as speaker if Democrats vote in favor alongside the conservative rebels.

Behind closed doors Tuesday, McCarthy told fellow Republicans: Let’s get on with it.

“If I counted how many times someone wanted to knock me out, I would have been gone a long time ago,” McCarthy said at the Capitol after a private morning meeting.

It’s a stunning moment for the embattled McCarthy that serves as the most severe challenge yet, a potential punishment sparked by his weekend decision to work with Democrats to keep the federal government open rather than risk a shutdown. So far, several hard-right Republicans said they are ready to oppose McCarthy, many of them who fought in January during his prolonged battle to gain the gavel.

A procedural vote was scheduled for Tuesday afternoon on a motion to table, or shelve, the effort for now.

The Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries said in a letter to colleagues that he wants to work with Republicans, but he was unwilling to provide the votes needed to save McCarthy.

“It is now the responsibility of the GOP members to end the House Republican Civil War,” Jeffries said, announcing the Democratic leadership would vote for the motion to oust the speaker.

At the Capitol, both Republicans and Democrats met privately behind closed doors ahead of what would be a historic afternoon vote.

McCarthy insisted he had not reached across the aisle to the Democratic leader Jeffries for help with votes to stay in the job, nor had they demanded anything in return.

During the hour-long meeting in the Capitol basement, McCarthy invoked Republican speaker Joseph Cannon, who more than 100 years ago confronted his critics head on by calling their bluff and setting the vote himself on his ouster. Cannon survived that take-down attempt which, until now, was the first time the House had actually voted to consider removing its speaker.

McCarthy received three standing ovations during the private meeting — one when he came to the microphone to speak, again during his remarks and lastly when he was done, according a Republican at the meeting and granted anonymity to discuss it.

At one point, there was a show of hands in support of McCarthy and it was “overwhelming,” said Rep. Ralph Norman, R-S.C., a member of the House Freedom Caucus.
Gaetz was in attendance, but did not address the room.

On the other side of the Capitol, Democrats lined up for a long discussion and unified around one common point: McCarthy cannot be trusted, several lawmakers in the room said. “I think it’s safe to say there’s not a lot of good will in that room for Kevin McCarthy,” said Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass.

“At the end of the day, the country needs a speaker that can be relied upon,” said Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Ca. “We don’t trust him. Their members don’t trust him. And you need a certain degree of trust to be the speaker.”

Rep. Brad Schneider, D-Ill., said “McCarthy got himself in this mess. It’s up to McCarthy to get himself out.”

“We are always the adults in the room,” said Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger. “McCarthy said he doesn’t need our help,” she said. “He has made his bed.”

The vote ahead would involve a motion to table the Gaetz proposal, which means that lawmakers would be voting to set it aside for now.

But if the motion to table fails, the House would prepare for an extraordinary floor debate ahead of a final roll call on McCarthy’s ouster, though the actual timing of that vote could be postponed.

Removing the speaker would launch the House Republicans into chaos, as they try to find a new leader. It took McCarthy himself 15 rounds in January over multiple days of voting before he secured the support from his colleagues to gain the gavel. There is no obvious GOP successor.

McCarthy appeared confident he would win this round, but acknowledged it may not be the last word. Gaetz has indicated he is not done fighting the speaker, and could try again as many times as he likes.

One key McCarthy ally, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., has taken to social media urging support for “our speaker” and an end to the chaos that has roiled the Republican majority.

The snap vote this week comes as Republicans are trying to make progress on a key demand from Gaetz and others, which is to move ahead with the 12 annual spending bills and prevent another stopgap measure like the one Congress approved last weekend hours before the government shutdown deadline.

Republicans are upset that McCarthy relied on Democratic votes Saturday to approve the temporary measure to keep the government running until Nov. 17. Some would have preferred a government shutdown as they fight for deeper spending cuts.

But Democrats are also upset at McCarthy for walking away from the debt deal that he made with President Joe Biden earlier this year that already set federal spending levels as he emboldens his right-flank to push for steep spending reductions.
___
Associated Press writers Kevin Freking, Stephen Groves and Mary Clare Jalonick contributed to this report.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Politics + Government

Julian Assange greets supporters at the Ecuadorian embassy in London....

Kyle Remund

Julian Assange, Wikileaks founder, reaches plea deal with U.S. government

The longtime activist, hacker, and journalist, Julian Assange, has entered a plea deal in connection with the 2010 Chelsea Manning leaks.

3 hours ago

A Utah County ballot drop box in 2022. Recently sent out Utah County ballots say you need to provid...

Lindsay Aerts, KSL TV

County clerks hope for last-minute turnout for Utah primary elections

Utahns are making a last-minute push to the ballot box to make sure their votes are counted before Tuesday‘s primary election.

5 hours ago

Demonstrators in support of trans rights gathered outside the Utah Capitol in early 2024. (Aimee Co...

Aimee Cobabe

High court decision may impact transgender-related medical treatment for Utah minors

The Supreme Court will hear a Tennessee case arguing that a ban on all medical treatments prescribed to help minors transition is unconstitutional.

17 hours ago

Salt Lake City Ballot Box. Recent poll shows that about half of Utahs are worried about the economy...

Mark Jackson

Poll finds that voter preference reflects Utahn economic worry

As Utah heads toward primary election, a new poll shows that 48% of Utahns believe their financial situation is currently getting worse.

22 hours ago

A Utah County ballot drop box in 2022. Recently sent out Utah County ballots say you need to provid...

Allessandra Harris Gurr

Today is the deadline for 2024 Primary mail-in ballots to be postmarked

Planning on voting by mail this primary? Make sure your ballot is postmarked today!

1 day ago

someone taps on facebook icon, utah lawmakers working to protect kids from social media...

Curt Gresseth

Utah lawmaker talks about his work to shield kids from social media

State Sen. Mike McKell discusses the legislation he has sponsored to undo the harm to Utah children from social media.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Underwater shot of the fisherman holding the fish...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Your Bear Lake fishing guide

Bear Lake offers year-round fishing opportunities. By preparing ahead of time, you might go home with a big catch!

A group of people cut a purple ribbon...

Comcast

Comcast announces major fiber network expansion in Utah

Comcast's commitment to delivering extensive coverage signifies a monumental leap toward a digitally empowered future for Utahns.

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.

...

Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

McCarthy ouster vote ahead, says he won’t cut a deal with Democrats